JANUARY 3, 1864

The Mississippi Declared Closed.—The Missouri Republican says that the St. Louis Board of Underwriters passed a resolution on the 22d, declaring the Mississippi closed on account of low water–“it is believed that there is only three feet of water or less at Cairo.” This is an official way of notifying all parties that insurance companies take no risks after the adoption of the resolution. No doubt it is well enough for all sides. The river is in a bad stage, even if it should remain free of ice below St. Louis, it will take some time to wash out the channel.


In the correspondence of the press we find the following speculations rather than revelations as to the probable movements of Lieut. Gen. Polk:

In Central Mississippi the rebels are assembling a large force under Lieut. Gen. Polk, for some effective operation against our lines. I speak of their force as a large one, as it is of more extent than any they have had there for some time past. Gen. Polk will be able to get together about 25,000 men, two-thirds of the number now being scattered in regiments and brigades throughout the State, while the remainder will be procured by conscription.

Polk’s operations will probably be conducted against our lines in West Tennessee, rather than against Vicksburg or this point. Vicksburg has recently been strengthened by a new line of defences within the old rebel lines. They will render the city easily tenable by a small force against any number the rebels can bring.


Coal.—The Pittsburg Gazette, of the 17th ult., says:

Nearly all the coal tugs in port yesterday had steam up, and were busily engaged in getting their respective tows ready, so as to be able to leave to-day. It is altogether probable that there will be a larger amount of coal towed out on the present rise than during any time this season. In addition to this a large number of “broad horns” will also get off, so that we think Cincinnati and Louisville will be pretty well supplied with coal by the time it all reaches there.1


A Great Misrepresentation Corrected.—It has been stated, probably through misapprehension, that the Confederates, after the battle of Chickamauga, not only neglected to bury the dead of the Federal army lying on the field, but maltreated the remains. This story we are glad to find contradicted, as we do by the following explicit statement of a correspondent of the Louisville Journal, writing from Chattanooga on the 17th ult., who says: “I have just returned from the battle-field of Chickamauga, where Gen. Baird, with details from various regiments, had been for two days burying the dead. He found no evidence of outrages on the dead by the enemy, and but few, comparatively, were unburied. The Confederates had no metallic shovels or spades, and were compelled to use wooden ones. Where the surface of the ground is slightly gravel, the dead were seldom or poorly buried. Col. Van Dever and Gen. Turchin were on the field, and their commands buried about two hundred. Many Confederates were found unburied.”

Sugar Not Dear Enough Yet.—While the diversion of labor here from the production of sugar and the tendency in some countries to change the raising of this for cotton as a staple crop is greatly reviving the hopes of the Jamaican planters, who trust that high prices may induce their vagrant “freemen” to work. It seems that they yet begrudge the prosperity of Cuba, and begin to renew their agitation against that colony as “slave trading.” When slavery is every where abolished and sugar fifty cents a pound, Jamaica will be half contented. Every place will then share her misery. The Colonial (Jamaica) Standard says:

Cuba and her slaveholding planters partake in the good fortune. Look to the statement of the markets, and you will observe that, pari passu, Cuba slave-grown sugar has advanced in price and in a corresponding ratio.2 The cry “we cannot drink as sugar the blood of the slave” is no longer heard in England; “we want sugar, we want cotton, too, and it matters little to us whence they come–whether from the toil of the free man or the slave, we want them, plenty and cheap.” Can we doubt, then, that if the effect on us of so favorable a change in the sugar market will be the arrest of the work of destruction, and will hold out encouragement to persevere, that it will not equally operate in Cuba by adding new impetus to the slave trade? On the other hand, is it not in our interests to diminish the supply in the market in order to increase the exchangeable value; and can we doubt that anything that will tend to diminish or, better, lead to a total suppression of the Cuban slave trade will have this effect, and thus enable us to hold that position in the British sugar markets that we are justly and naturally entitled to, but of which we have been so unfairly deprived by a nefarious and unequal competition? We cannot doubt what must be the answer to these questions coming from any interested in the well-being of the colony. They seem, so to speak, to carry their own answers with them. The course of conduct which lies before us is obvious enough. We must resume agitation relative to the suppression of the Cuban slave trade.


The Contraband Carrying Trade.—A number of fashionably-dressed women were detected at Memphis with their stockings, hoops, bustles and busts well filled with contraband articles, which they proposed to carry with their precious persons through the lines. They were accommodated with lodgings in Irving Block.


JANUARY 4, 1864

The South Carolina Coast.

Hints thrown out in the latest papers from the North should put us on our guard at all points, and especially with respect to the coast of South Carolina. We are assured by the enemy that the armistice imposed upon Meade by the tenacious mud of Virginia will be compensated for by activity in other quarters. Can they mean East Tennessee or Northwest Georgia? Scarcely, for in these mountainous and austere regions the force of the elements and obstacles to transportation will be felt even more severely than in Northern Virginia. Mobile, the Southern coast and Northern border of Texas are the only other points where a winter campaign would promise success. But neither of these points hold out such inducements to the foe as the coast of South Carolina, with its mild climate and its abundant water courses, affording ample play for their fleets and transports. With a water base at his back, Gilmore or Grant would be able, if sufficiently reinforced, to play Beauregard the same trick that was played on Pemberton at Grand Gulf. Beauregard would not be caught napping, but numbers might compel him to yield what neither his strength not his vigilance could secure.

Grant has torn up the railroads, so that he cannot, if he would, push his heavy columns upon Atlanta or into the interior of Alabama. His sudden retreat from Ringgold, coupled with his destruction of railways, showed that he had in view some plan which was intended to puzzle the rebels until he was prepared to strike. But a long head was watching him from Charleston, and more than a fortnight ago had solved his riddle and made ready for his reception. Averill’s bold raid on the Virginia and Tennessee road had something behind it; all that trouble and exposure was not taken merely for the honor and glory of the destruction of a few bags of corn. The Baltimore and Ohio road has been at work, and Sherman was in Louisville a week ago. Many troops have passed Wilmington, going Southward. The signs on Beaufort Island indicate the arrival of large reinforcements. All these things point one way.

The Commanding General at Charleston is wide awake, and we have reason to believe that our authorities are also in a state of great vigilance. They will not be too late this time, or, if they are, it will not be for want of timely notification of the enemy’s designs. They know that while the coast of South Carolina is quite accessible to the enemy, it is at the same time far more defensible than the upper country, and they will not carelessly throw away the advantages which the swamps, marshes, thickets and forests afford us. The supplies obtained on the coast are no inconsiderable item, and the importance of the Charleston and Savannah road cannot well be overestimated if Charleston is to be held. A winter campaign on the South Carolina coast seems now a settled fact, to which the Government should address itself with the proper energy, if it would save not only Charleston, but Atlanta as well.

Beaufort is a much better base for operations against our depots and arsenals in Georgia than Nashville, and a great army interposed between Beauregard and Johnston would be an ugly circumstance for both. If Charleston were held, Savannah would fall, and if Johnston attempted to rescue the latter, Atlanta would be in danger from the Yankee army to be hurled out of East Tennessee next Spring. ->

Let the enemy get foothold on the main, they will retain it; for the coast is as defensible one way as the other. The coast should be held by the Confederates at all hazards. And why not? Correspondence assures us that Bragg’s late army has gone into winter quarters. Shall that army waste a winter in idleness, and the coast of South Carolina be abandoned for the want of a few thousand infantry, which might have been obtained at time within two days after the order was issued? We trust not.–Richmond Whig.


Charleston, Jan. 2.–Affairs about as usual. The enemy are at work to-day repairing the damages caused by the storm. Most of the vessels have been sent around to Stono. The Ironsides and four Monitors rode out the gale. The enemy fired two shots upon Sumter yesterday evening at sunset. Having done that he respectfully lowered his flag at the report of Sumter’s evening gun. There has been no further shelling of the city.


“It is stated that Gen. Scott, in a recent conversation on the developments of the war, remarked that the fighting had only commenced, and that the real hard fighting was yet to take place. He also added that the Administration had fooled away nearly every golden opportunity, and thus, instead of ending the rebellion, as they could have done long since, have extended it to the distant future.”–N. Y. Herald.

None can truthfully deny the latter assertion of Gen. Scott; but, great as have been the military opportunities thrown away, the President has just thrown away a greater opportunity to subdue the rebellion than any which has been lost through military blunders. We mean the opportunity of a magnanimous and generous amnesty to the rebels. Had he offered such an amnesty, instead of the extraordinary offer he has made them, we might reasonably hope that the necessity for further extensive military operations would speedily pass away.–Chicago Times.


Rumors.–Reports re current in the country which it may not be amiss to correct. Among them, it is said that a column of the enemy is advancing upon Pocataligo; another, that the Yankees are landing at Red Bluff, in Carolina, fifteen miles from Savannah; and still another, that every able-bodied man in the city is under arms. All these reports are without foundation. As the “wolf” is likely to come, there is no necessity of anticipating him. As regards the last mentioned report, if every able-bodied man in Savannah is not already under arms, we hope all the arrangements are complete to become so at a moment’s notice.–Savannah Republican.


Capture of a Rebel Mail in Charge of a British Officer.New York, December 29th.–The Post states that a British lieutenant, who was to sail to-day for Bermuda on board a sailing vessel, the Amazon, with rebel letters in his possession, was caught to-day by U. S. Marshal Murray, and is now on his way to Fort Lafayette. The officer was to proceed with the other passengers, but the Marshal, after having received information concerning the rebel mail, gave the Captain a permit, and allowed the other passengers to go forward, but detained the lieutenant. That individual displayed his uniform and much arrogance at the officer of the Marshal, but the baggage in which the mail had been concealed was sent for, and the letters found. The letters were at once forwarded to Secretary Seward, who is in this city, and it is understood that the Secretary, while having no objection to the presence here of English officers, thinks that such individuals ought not to engage in the  business of carrying mails to the rebels, so the Englishman was locked up.

Before he went to the Fort, however, the officer stated that the rebels had vast stores at Bermuda, and that that place was a great depot of war material, a large share of it coming from this city.


Detection of an Extensive Smuggling Scheme.—On searching the steamer George Cromwell, while on the eve of departure from New York for New Orleans a few days since, barrels were found containing considerable powder and caps concealed among potatoes and in other disguised packages. The searching officers also found important papers on the persons of some of the passengers, consisting of correspondence with the rebels and persons who are evidently interested in giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

A thorough search of the store on Courtlandt street revealed the fact that large numbers of barrels of articles contraband of war, including caps, powder, whiskey, &c., done up in innocent looking packages, were stored there, and were designed to be shipped on the George Cromwell for the South. The Marshal and his officers arrested several persons, among whom were the book-keeper of the concern and the chief engineer of the ship. It is reported that the latter has turned State’s evidence; and that a number of persons whose loyalty has not been hitherto suspected, are implicated in the affair. Their case is being investigated, and it is conjectured by some that a part of the contraband cargo found on board the Chesapeake was furnished by the very men who have been engaged in this effort to send caps and powder and Secession passengers to the South.

It appears that on the same day that the George Cromwell was to sail for New Orleans, Marshal Murray’s detectives arrested Mr. H. Segur, formerly Minister of the United States to San Salvador, together with his wife, maid, child, Messrs. G. F. Canty and D. Perez, all of whom were sent to Fort Lafayette, there to be detained until further orders. On searching Mr. Segur’s luggage, a bill of lading was found for 50 barrels of lard, shipped on board the British bark Circassian. On searching the lard, one thousand navy revolvers were found secreted therein, for the purpose of being transmitted to the South. Canty and the other parties were arrested, having been found in the company of Segur, on the supposition that they knew something of the matter. When arrested, the whole party were in the act of going on board the George Cromwell. The wife, child and maid of Segur, on being searched, were found to have several revolvers concealed about their persons.

Important Arrests in Baltimore.—Four persons were arrested in Baltimore last week for carrying rebel mails and being engaged in a supposed plot to liberate the rebel prisoners in West’s Building Hospital. Two men and a woman were ordered across the lines and will be sent South. The fourth, H. A. Elaison, is still held prisoners. R. Dalton, a soldier of the 19th Maine regiment, one of the guard at the hospital, was also arrested by order of Colonel Fish, and sent to Fort McHenry to be court martialed. He was caught in the act of carrying written and verbal messages between the hospital and rebel prisoners at Fort McHenry. At the house of a Mrs. Hook about one thousand letters were found, ready to be sent South. Some of the letters are of a highly important character to the military authorities. No arrests of any of the authors have yet been made. Nearly on bushel of confederate military buttons, made of fine brass, engraved with the letters “C. S. A.,” were also found on the premises, together with a considerable quantity of contraband goods, &c. These were all confiscated.


The Negro Fit for Freedom.—The Boston Courier publishes a communication from a gentleman whom it endorses as a long resident at the South and thoroughly acquainted with the slaves, who gives this explicit testimony as to their capability to maintain themselves:

“They are a race of practical and experienced agriculturalists. Hardly a plantation is found where there are not black men who are as competent to conduct with success the whole practical agriculture of the place as their masters were, for whom they once labored. I venture the assertion that, beginning with the humbler classes in Northern communities, there cannot be found five millions of farm laborers who have more practical knowledge of conducting the main operations in agriculture than these five millions of Negro-Americans.”


Distress in Tennessee.The Memphis Journal of the December 22d, says:

“A gentleman from the neighborhood of Cogswell, in Hammond county, states that there are quite a number of families of rebel soldiers in the neighborhood, who must suffer if not relieved. Where relief can come from is more than anybody is willing to say. The people are all being placed upon an equality as regards supplies. Notwithstanding the extreme destitution of the people, a force of rebel cavalry numbering three hundred are stationed at that place, subsisting on the scanty allowance of the inhabitants. The best families could not afford any better meat than bread without salt, and port partly preserved in ashes. Forrest is levying contributions of provisions and forage from all parts of the country. A barrel of salt would easily command one hundred dollars in the city of Jackson. It will be entirely impossible for any one to cure any bacon this season unless they can procure salt, which is impossible.”

JANUARY 6, 1864


Cost of Living.—We need not inform our readers that there has been a great increase in the cost of living within the last three years , for they are all aware of the fact. But the increase has been somewhat gradual, and therefore its full extent is not appreciated so clearly as if it had been sudden. It may interest many of them to know the per cent of increase in the price of the principal “necessaries of life.” The following statement was prepared from answers to questions on the subject, with reference to raising the salaries of school teachers in Boston, and shows the increased cost of necessary articles of food and clothing since 1860:


per cent

Beef, pork, mutton, veal




Other Vegetables








Indian Meal


Fresh Fish


Salt Fish














Other groceries


Gentleman’s apparel


Cotton cloth


Cotton flannel


Cambric & other materials for linings


Balmoral skirts




Calicoes and ginghams






Sewing Cottons








Outer garments, cloaks, shawls, &c.


Other necessary small articles


Excepting coffee and cotton goods, the average increase is about the same as that in gold–from 50 to 60 per cent; and, taking everything into account, it will be found that it takes nearly two dollars now to buy what one bought in 1860.


The loss of East Tennessee to the rebels is regarded as a very severe blow to them. The Richmond Enquirer says:

“Our losses by the enemy gaining possession of East Tennessee are incalculable. We are not only deprived of the vast flour mills of that country which previously supplied the whole army, but of vast machine shops extensively organized at Knoxville. Besides this, we are cut off from the coal and copper mines, which were worth millions.

“The copper-rolling mills at Cleveland, superintended by Col. Peet, Government agent, which were burned by the enemy, formerly turned out 6,000 pounds of copper per day.3 Over 3,000,000 pounds have been delivered to the government. This was the only copper rolling mill in the country, and which kept us supplied in copper for our caps and cannon.

“This is among our losses of the battle of Chattanooga, which is spoken of as merely resulting in the loss of a few thousand men and thirty-eight cannon.”

Mystery of Law.—Frederick the Great, a century ago, wished to enlarge his possession and his palace. A certain mill obscured the view, and he offered the Prussian a fair price for it. He refused to sell, because it was a paternal estate. Frederick then ordered the mill torn down, which was done. The miller stood calmly by, saying that he would abide by the law. He must obey his sovereign, but the law did not compel him to sell his mill till he chose. He appealed to the courts, and the courts decided that Frederick should rebuild the mill. This he cheerfully did, thanking God that he had a court not influenced by imperial favor. Twenty years ago the present owner of the mill became involved, and offered to sell to Frederick William, the successor of Frederick the Great. The sovereign refused to buy, but freely gave him $6000, saying that the mill must stand as a monument of the triumph of law, and Prussia stands to-day as a constant monument of the majesty of law. It is not beneath the dignity even of an Emperor, to be submissive to law.

The above is from a Republican paper. Was it intended as a rebuke of Abraham Lincoln? It would seem so. And what a rebuke is contained in these words–“It is not beneath the dignity even of an Emperor, to be submissive to law.” And how humiliating to American citizens is the contrast in this respect between the despotic ruler of Prussia and the Chief Magistrate of the Republic of America! Let all men ponder the above scrap of history and contrast it with the history of our Government during the last three years. Let them compare the conduct of Frederick with that of Abraham, and they will begin top appreciate the extent to which our Government has been perverted from its original and true character.


Comfort for Smokers.—If any class of sinners deserve consideration under present difficulties, it is smokers. The enormous increase in the cost of the weed renders it difficult for them to extract compensating comfort from the luxury. On this account, probably, the managers of the Concord Railroad have done the handsome thing for them. They have constructed for the exclusive use of smokers, an elegant “smoking car.” The editor of the Daily Union, who has tried it on, says the furniture of this car consists of several marble card tables, with seats conveniently arranged, a wash room, a niche for the sale of cigars, and all other accommodations appertaining to the practice of smoking. When to these is added the consciousness that the smoker feels, that nobody has a right to interfere with him in that car–our persecuted and proscribed fellow-sinners will appreciate the dignity they have attained.


“Loyal” Traitors.—Some “loyal merchants” were exposed in New York recently, says the Hartford Times. They were loading one of the Cromwell steamers with contraband goods, powder, caps, &c., for the rebels. These goods were concealed in the middle of their goods–some of them in barrels of potatoes. These merchants had been so “loyal” that they had not been suspected. They had assumed so much piety, so much regard for the war, so great a horror of “traitors” and copperheads, that they had passed along bravely affording “aid and comfort,” and “powder and caps” to the rebels. It is very remarkable, too, that the officers conceal their names, assuring us only that they were “loyal.” It should not be overlooked that the Cromwell steamer receiving these contraband goods belonged to the same firm who owned the Chesapeake, lately seized by rebel passengers.


A Virginia Family Scene.

While on our march the 2d corps and the 3d division of the 6th corps halted on Sunday, the 29th, 13 miles from Orange Court-House, for the night, and I improved the opportunity to visit a log house, which stood in full range of the enemy’s guns, and over whose lonely roof the solid shot hummed and the ugly shell screeched as they tore through the air on their errands of death. Upon knocking at the door of the gloomy habitation, which had a deserted appearance. I was met by a trembling youth of fifteen years, who stood motionless and pale as a ghost at the side of a terrified and weeping group of children. Entering the door I found a clean and tidy, but comfortless and poverty-stricken apartment, whose furniture consisted of an ancient loom draped in cobwebs and covered with dust a speaking picture of the sad changes of war, whose harsh tones had silenced the hum of the implements of peace, and beat the plowshare into the sharp sword of death. An old bedstead covered with clean comforters, a silent clock with refused to tick, an old looking-glass, half a dozen antique chairs, whose venerable forms carried one back to the time of the Pilgrim Fathers, with a barrel, and a few primitive cooking utensils, completed the stock of earthly goods within this cheerless dwelling. One small window of four panes of glass emitted a feeble, gloomy light, too weak to penetrate to all the corners of the room. The rough-hewn logs were cemented with clay or, more properly speaking, Virginia mud, and the interior was whitewashed.

I found the tears coursing down the cheeks of eight orphans, two boys and six girls, ranging in age from five to twenty-two years. The three youngest were barefooted, and the eldest girl informed me that they had never worn any shoes. After I had quieted their fears as much as possible, Brig-Gen. W. D. Terry, commanding 3d division 6th corps, came in, and upon beholding their destitute condition, he very humanely ordered Capt. Davis, his efficient provost-marshal, to place a strong guard around the house, and not allow a rail or any portion of the property to be disturbed. He generously detailed several men to chop a quantity of wood for the use of the family, and our soldiers volunteered to do it freely when they learned the deplorable situation of the family. While sitting there before the log fire which burned brightly on the open hearth, casting its weirdlike shadows on the wall, we ventured to ask some questions, as is usual with Yankees, whose inquisitive bump is acknowledged to be considerably larger than the rest of the human family.4

Not a book or newspaper could be seen, and upon inquiry we learned that not one of the family could read or write. We asked them how they managed to occupy their time, and were told in spinning and sewing. ->

Not one in the family knew what he meant by the American flag, and not until I pulled from my coat-pocket a small illuminated almanac, adorned with the stars and stripes, had they ever beheld the emblem of their country. The eldest boy, of fifteen, who performed all the hard labor of the small farm of thirty acres, had never seen a locomotive, and did not know what a lemon was. When asked if they ever heard of God, they replied they had–but none could tell where He was. Meat they had not tasted of any kind for two months. Tea, coffee, butter, rice, sugar and molasses they had not tasted for over two years. George Washington they had never heard of until we informed them. As the family huddled together in one corner of the room gazing at the strange and warlike group around them, while the artillery hoarsely boomed, and the musketry along our picket lines rattled, it was a tableaux whose dismal shades tinted the steeled hearts present with compassion and deep pity. More than one Yankee eye glistened with the moisture of the briny tear, which unnoticed stole slowly down from the windows of the soul. A tomb-like silence prevailed for a moment or two, broke only by the sobs of the terrified children and the peals of the enemy’s cannon.

The mother had been dead two years, and the father had been conscripted into the rebel army, where disease overtook him and laid him in his grave. The next morning at daylight we broke camp and resumed our march. Before leaving, Gen. Terry and Captain Tilly, quartermaster of his division, gave the family $100 in payment for a few split rails which our troops had burned.


A writer in the Cincinnati Gazette has gone into an elaborate calculation to compare our losses by war with the natural increase of able-bodied men. The result at which he arrives is this: Increase of able-bodied men in two years and a half, about 487,500. Loss in that time by war, including those who were killed or disabled, or who died of disease, 219,399. Aggregate gain 278,101.


Shot in Attempting to Desert.—A Boston correspondent says, that as a squad of recruits from Concord, this State, were on the wharf at Boston waiting to embark on the steamer for Long Island, three of the number slid down the piles at the end of the wharf and swam under. Two of them obeyed the call to come up, but a third, who did not, was shot and he sank immediately. His name was not given.

8, 1864

Rebel Leaders Preparing to Skedaddle.

A letter to the N. Y. Times from Chattanooga contains the following interesting and credible statements as to the condition of things in the heart of the South, derived from refugees and prisoners:

“Speaking of the leaders, I have been told by one who from connection and communication with them is well prepared to speak on the points, that it in indisputable fact that the leaders with whom, when the final crash comes, there will be not even the hope of a future, have hoarded all the gold they could lay their hands on, preparatory to escaping from the country. I have no doubt of this. Hundreds who, though not among the most prominent leaders, have been more or less conspicuous, either as original conspirators or in sustaining the rebellion after it was launched, have already gone to foreign countries, after converting their possessions into ready means. Large numbers are preparing to follow; and it will not be long before the leaders will begin to leave by blockade runners. This I know is the expectation of well informed persons in Georgia and Alabama, communicated to the friends left behind–all secessionists. Refugees from districts in Georgia, uncovered by the panic-stricken retreat of Bragg have come in in considerable numbers within the last few days. They agree in saying that the rebels who never before admitted that there could be failure, now confess they do not see in what quarter the star of hope is to rise; while the less sanguine, but more reasonable, confess to the beginning of the end. We here may over-estimate the moral force and consequences of the blow which Grant has dealt square on the front of the confederacy. We rest our opinion on evidence that is tangible, derived from a variety of sources. Nor is our belief based solely on logical deduction, but on what is said by a multitude of witnesses. ‘Madam,’ said I today to a rebel lady–the wife of a prominent rebel officer, herself highly indignant and thoroughly informed–‘what will be the effect on the confederacy of this defeat?’ ‘Alas!’ said she, ‘I fear it will prove fatal. It would be madness to attempt to conceal the truth. There is small hope for the cause now. The federal army is too numerous, it fights too well, is at last in too able hands; while the confederate army is small, is too much broken in spirit, too badly led, to afford reasonable ground of hope that the confederate cause can succeed. This being so, let the end come quickly, and let the agony be over.’ This, unquestionably, is the sentiment that is creeping into the southern mind, leaving the rebellion naked of all else but the desperation of the leaders.”


Good Enough to be True.—An army correspondent tells an anecdote which has never been in print of Stonewall Jackson. The rebel army was on its march to Maryland. A secesh farmer sought an interview with Stonewall, and said:

“General, are you going into Maryland?” “Do you seek an interview to ask me that question?” “No, sir,” replied the farmer, “but if you will inform me, I will tell you a secret.” “A secret, eh?” “Yes, sir.” “Can you keep a secret?” asked Stonewall, eyeing the man sternly. “Oh, yes.” “Well, sir,” said the general, “you keep your secret and I’ll keep mine!” and he rode off, leaving his butternut friend in a maze of bewilderment.

A Spiteful Letter from Charleston.

The Tribune vouches for the genuineness of the following letter:

Charleston, Nov. 9, 1863.

Dear Cousin: Fred. has consented at last to let me come to Macon, so you may expect me in a few days. The other day a Yankee shell exploded just around the corner from our house, tearing a building to pieces, and setting two others on fire. Nobody was injured, as all the buildings were vacated some weeks ago. I don’t believe there are twenty ladies in town who are able to get away, but Fred. declared we should never leave while we had a roof over us; but, now that he sees the danger we are in, he is glad to hurry us off. Most of the families have gone to Dorchester, Summerville, Combahee, and even Walterboro, and every house in those places is crowded. Nearly every room is filled with beds, and every bed has to accommodate three or four persons. So much for war; but I would willingly live in a sty the remainder of my life if it would keep the Yankee miscreants out of our city. A majority of our people have left most of their furniture in their houses, expecting in a few weeks to return to them; but, of course, they know that if the Yankees take the city their houses and furniture all will be destroyed. Gen. Beauregard caused information to reach all that if he finds it impossible to hold the city, he will leave it a mass of ruins. No one will complain of this, as they know the barbarians have sworn to destroy every vestige of the Secession nest, if they can take it. If they should ever enter our house, may God have mercy on them, for I can’t. If they ever enter the city, you will hear of the greatest earthquake ever caused by human agency.

It will be a consolation, Louise, for you to know that should the vandals ever get here, they will never be able to reach Macon. Gen. Beauregard is confident they should never get ten miles beyond the city in any direction, but he is equally confident they can never come here. It is mournful to go through our streets, once alive with beauty and fashion, and see them entirely deserted, with the exception now and then of our colored people or a squalid Irish woman.

But, I am to see you soon, so I will not write a long letter. Fred. sends his love, but says he will not write until, dipping his pen in a Yankee carcass, he can write with red ink.

Your affectionate cousin, Ophelia.

JANUARY 9, 1864


From Gen. Meade’s Army.
Suffering Families Within our Lines.


Washington, Dec. 8.–A communication from the Army of the Potomac says: “It will gratify every feeling of humanity and delight hundreds of half-clad, half-starved citizens, to learn that an arrangement has been made and authorized by the Treasury Department to supply the necessaries of life to the suffering families within the lines of the Army of the Potomac. Some months ago a plan was projected and sanctioned by Gen. Meade, provided it was sustained by law, to effect this object; but on reference to Washington it was found to be unauthorized by existing laws regulating trade and military rules. Recently, however, another plan was suggested and presented to the Treasury Department, by which it was sanctioned and will shortly be carried into effect. It was mainly as follows:

“A trade agent has been appointed to secure to the destitute population provisions, clothing and other necessaries of life. The mode adopted is that any person desiring supplies must present an order to the Provost-Marsha-General, accompanied by an affidavit of the number in their family to be supplied, and that the supplies desired are not for and will not be furnished to any person or persons  engaged in hostilities against the United States. The order must be accompanied by the money to compensate the trade against loss by guerrilla scouting parties of the enemy, &c., thus in a manner making the recipients themselves guarantee the integrity of transportation. Such stores will be forwarded by the usual method of transportation. All citizens’ orders must be approved by Gen. Patrick, Provost-Marshal-General, and will be restricted to the requirements of 60 days as the maximum.

“The benefits of this immense arrangement will be extended from the defences of Washington to the Rapidan, and from the Blue Ridge northward to the peninsula formed by the Potomac and Rappahannock as far as can be done with safety. The extent, however, will depend on the course taken by the rebel scouts and guerrillas. Any interference or molestation by them will greatly circumscribe the limits of this benefaction. The experiment will be tried to the full limits of the occupation of this army, and it is hoped that its humanity will be fully recognized and appreciated by all in arms against the Government.

“The Trade Agent appointed by the Treasury Department is John H. Shinker, a loyal citizen on Stafford county, as well known for his integrity and philanthropy as by his social position previous to the rebellion, he having, as the writer believes, occupied positions of responsibility and trust under the State Government. Under his influence and agency since the war, hundreds have been relieved from privations incident to an armed occupation. His suggestions to the Provost-Marshal-General have aided largely in effecting the present humane purpose. Those, however, without current money of the United States are excluded from its benefits, and their number is large, embracing nearly one-third of the resident population. Most of these, perhaps, are innocent victims of rebellion, and must either starve or depend on soldiers’ charity.

“A proper plan, however, is making, by which these people can be supplied. But before it can be completed hundreds may starve or freeze. It has been suggested that the abundant products of the North might yield support for the present to the unfortunate and destitute of this section. ->

In the hope that some of the humane editors of our large cities will accept voluntary contributions for this object, Mr. Shinker kindly offers to disburse to the most needs such money or supplies as may be deposited for that purpose.

“Dépôts for citizens’ supplies will be established at Culpepper, Warrington and points on the railroad hereafter to be named. In the meantime orders accompanied by affidavits and the required amount of money can be deposited with Gen. Patrick for his approval.”


Ice.—There is at present an excellent prospect of an abundant ice crop. In all the New England States the work of securing it has been going on actively. Reports say that the quality is good and the thickness of the blocks from eight to fifteen inches. In the West unusual efforts to secure a large supply are making. It is reported that the Indianapolis packers have already put away a large quantity. The same is reported of the ice crop in central and northern Ohio. In New Jersey they are cutting ice in large quantities on Lake Hopatcong, about 40 miles from New York, in order to supply the market next summer. The ice is formed of pure spring water, perfectly transparent, and fifteen inches thick, and is said to be decidedly superior to any crop that was ever gathered in the State. About one thousand hands are employed in filling the storehouses, which number forty buildings, bordering on the Morris Canal. In the spring, the ice will be put aboard canal boats and brought to Jersey City, Newark and New York.


From New Orleans.

New York, Jan. 8.–Steamer Yazoo, from New Orleans 31st ult., arrived this morning.

New Orleans, Dec. 31, 7 a.m.–Another secret expedition left here yesterday, the strength and destination of which remain unknown. Little doubt is entertained but that eventually it is intended to operate against Mobile.

For three days it has rained terrifically and incessantly. On Sunday morning the city was submerged to a depth varying from one to two feet. This lasted for several hours.

There is nothing of importance from the front. The army is in camp and all is quiet.

Recruiting is rapidly going on. Refugees are continually coming in from Brownsville, and all join the army.

A mass meeting of all the loyal people of Louisiana has been called for the 8th of January next. The object is to take into consideration the formation of a free State government. Nearly enough are enrolled to enable the State to return to the Union under the President’s proclamation.

The Columbia is advertised to leave for New York on January 2d, the George Cromwell on the 3d, and the Morning Star on the 9th. Very little business is done owing to the rains. The vessels are unable to load or discharge but for a short space of time.

1 A “broad horn” is a flatboat, so named, according to The Now and Then, Vol. 3, No. 10 of February 1892,  (p. 187) because “many of the flat boats were provided with large steering ours, hung on fixed pivots, braced out some distance from the sides, by which these cumbrous contrivances were managed.”

2 pari passu is Latin for “in equal step” or “on equal footing;” used here to mean “hand-in-hand.”

3 This is Cleveland, TN, northeast of Chattanooga, not the city in Ohio.

4 The idea that a bump on the back of your head could offer a clue to your inner personality was a central theme in the pseudoscience known as phrenology, a discipline that involved linking bumps on a person's head to certain aspects of the individual's personality and character. Ref. article “What is Phrenology?” for details.

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