JANUARY 17, 1864

The Grounding of the Monitor Lehigh.
A Terrific Fire.

The fact that the Monitor Lehigh grounded in Charleston harbor where she was exposed to the fire of 100 heavy guns, was published some time since, but the following detailed and accurate account of the affair from an officer on board has but recently appeared in print.

From Nov. 12th, when our bombardment of Sumter terminated in the destruction of the two upper tiers of the casemates, until the 15th, nothing occurred worthy of note. On the night of the 15th, Gen. Gilmore apprehended an attack by the rebels upon Gregg from a force landing at Cumming’s Point; hence the Lehigh was ordered up between Sumter and Gregg to prevent any boat attack and protect the army. Before daylight on the morning of the 16th, the Lehigh grounded on a knoll. Attempts to get her off at daylight proved unavailing, and signals for assistance were made. The rebels opened fire upon us at 7 a.m. from Moultrie. The first shot struck our turret rifle screen, making the splinters of wood and iron fly in a lively manner; what remained of the screen was taken down quite expeditiously.

The fire of the rebels increased in rapidity and severity. At 8 a.m. nine different forts and batteries were making a target of us. At this time a heavy anchor, weighing 8500 pounds, was struck by a ball, breaking the anchor into many pieces; a piece of its shank, some three or four feet in length, and weighing about 200o pounds, was carried rapidly along the deck seventy feet. Bolts were knocked out in the pilot-house and turret, which were hit frequently, and deep indentations were made in the iron, though eleven inches thick. The Nahant, Montauk and Passaic came to our assistance, the Nahant anchoring as near as was prudent, perhaps an eighth of a mile from us. It now became necessary to communicate between the two ships, and this, too, under a very heavy fire. Our medical officer, Dr. Wm. Longshaw, at this critical juncture, no one else offering (and one officer having remarked, “Impossible, no boat can live under this fire,”) requested permission of Capt. Bryson to make the attempt to communicate with the Nahant. Two brave men were procured to man the boat, which succeeded in getting over to the Nahant. Lines were procured and carried back to the Lehigh, but as they were being made fast, they were shot away.

Again the boat, now the only one we had left, for three others had been shot to pieces and one sunk, crossed to the Nahant, this time trying to carry a heavy line across, but when midway between the two ships, two oars proving insufficient to pull the boat with the line against the tide, while vainly trying to make progress, under the furious fire, the order was given to cast off the line. This the doctor did, pulled to the Nahant, got a third line and took it to the Lehigh. While near the ship a ten-inch Columbiad passed just over the boat and struck the waves two feet ahead of the boat, throwing up a large column of water and half filling the boat. Our chain was shot away below the surface of the water, and without anchor we were forced by the strong current a little higher upon the bank. The gentle thumping [of] the swell caused us to make stimulated our exertions. All the crew were out on deck exposed to the shot and shell, which flew in all directions. They worked well, as Yankee sailors always do, regardless of danger.

Again our hawser was shot away, and just in the chock aft. A man (Leland) was standing on the chock at work on the line, saw the ball coming, threw his arms about the flagstaff and raised his feet, and the chock was shot away from under him. Our last boat gone and another line must be had. Two seamen of the Nahant volunteered to carry it to us. His we succeeded in making fast around the base of our smoke-pipe, and the Nahant, assisted by the Montauk, towed us off at 12 m.

During the five hours we were under fire; sell exploded over us and on our decks; shots struck all over us; our deck was torn up in many places; pieces of solid 10-inch shot, and of shells and rifle shots, were picked up on the lower deck, when they pierced the iron deck above. Our overhang was sadly punched and our hull penetrated six feet below the water, causing a leak of five inches per hour.

Our noble captain, the admiration of all his men, stood on deck directing everything, for example and encouragement, and pulling hawsers and lines. He was slightly wounded on the cheek by a fragment of a shell. The doctor was hit by a splinter. Our executive officer, Mr. Hopkins, fortunately was not hurt, though some accounts report that he was severely injured. Spectators from a distance marvel much that all our men were not killed. One shell exploded on deck, covering everything with smoke and splinters, which, until it blew away, was thought to have done great injury, but mirabile dictu, only one officer and two men were seriously wounded and six others slightly.1 Ensign R. Burke, while rendering most valuable service, was stricken down by a piece of shell. This excellent officer is now doing well, and it is to be hoped he may be promoted as he merits.

Secrets of the Confederate Cabinet Revealed.
A Grand Concerted Effort to be made for the
Recovery of Kentucky and Tennessee.

From the Cincinnati Gazette.

The following statement has been handed to us by a gentleman–a citizen of Kentucky–in whom we have entire confidence. He assures us that the information was obtained from a person recently from Richmond, who while there occupied an important official position. This informant is not a convert to Unionism, and the information given below was communicated confidentially to secession sympathizers, through whom it leaked, and reached our correspondent in a way and from sources that give him full; confidence in the reliability of the statements.

Our informant occupied a position that gave him an opportunity to see the rebel President often, and required him to be present at Cabinet meetings. They are determined to regain, if possible, Kentucky and Tennessee–without these there can be no confederacy. It is the intention of the War Department to conscript all able-bodied persons, without regard to age or condition. Already it has begun, and me who have heretofore escaped the army are now in the ranks.

The case is desperate, and the leaders are aware of it. Invalids, or those not absolutely disabled for garrison duty will be there placed. Negroes who can be trusted will be armed and fight beside their masters. They will not be trusted in companies or regiments in the field. The forts will be manned entirely with Negroes, commanded by white commissioned and non-commissioned officers. The Negro’s pride will thus be appealed to, as he can fight beside his master. In many cases this will be effectual. By this means they will be enabled to bring a large force into the field, and hope to drive the Union troops from Tennessee and Kentucky. They know as well as we the time of enlistment of our troops and its expiration. They have had copies of our recorded papers in our War Department up to November 1. They know that numerous regiments will have served out their time in the spring, and hope then to achieve a victory over those left. We give this information that the Government may realize its dangers, and secure Kentucky and Tennessee beyond doubt. Citizens of Kentucky have been apprised of a coming invasion by friends in the Confederacy.

We know of rebel sympathizers receiving letters advising them to sell all except real estate, and hold themselves in readiness to join the army of liberation. In a rebel caucus of the members of Congress, it was determined to give up all coast defence rather than Kentucky and Tennessee. If they prove thus able to drive Grant from his stronghold, it will, they believe, prolong the war, cause their recognition abroad, encourage Copperheads at the North, give them strength in Europe, and cause depression throughout the land. We do not anticipate this result, but give facts as they exist in Richmond, instead of mere rumors, as heretofore. We sincerely trust that gen. Grant will not allow himself to be overwhelmed. The whole available force of the South will be brought against him, and that soon.


The Terrible Night of Cold.—Many railroad employees and others were frozen to death by the cold of the 1st, and still more were lamed or otherwise injured for life, by being frostbitten. The accounts in the Northern telegrams are awful in the extreme. On the Michigan Southern Railroad, in the prairie beyond Chicago, the engine was unable to make headway against the snow. The cold was intense; there were above a hundred passengers on board, many of them were women and children, and wood was scarce. The men dug into the snow for fence rails, the stoves were heated until one of the cars caught fire. The snow prevented a single car being moved. To be from under shelter was certain death by cold. The ladies now aided the gentlemen to cut and throw snow on the fire, until it was extinguished. A second car took fire, but was saved with a large hole burned in the floor. The stoppage occurred near a crossing, and a train coming up the other road reached them as darkness was setting in. Two hundred people were on this train, and after some time it also became fast. Two brave men struggled through the snow, in places ten feet deep, to Chicago. “Two hundred people in the snow” was a sentence that quickly rung through the city. Provisions, blankets, food and cordials were taken, and the passengers were rescued by means of sleighs, and a car with two engines, but the task was a terrible one. The worst injuries suffered were a few frost bites. The most frightful accounts are spread through the Northern papers of the fearful storm that saw the old year out and the new year in.

JANUARY 18, 1864

More Men, or More to Eat?

It is questionable whether our armies are most in need of reinforcements of men, or more ample and satisfactory rations for those now in camps. Especially is this questionable in reference to the armies in Tennessee and Northern Georgia. The complaints that have reached us [about] short rations are many and bitter. We copy one from a letter to the Atlanta Register, date Dalton, Jan. 1st: “Does the Government know that the soldiery now fighting for its existence receive a quantity of food positively insufficient to allay the pangs of hunger? It ought to know. It is a fact–a stubborn fact. Our soldiers get too little corn meal, miserably poor beef, and rotten potatoes, to allay the pangs of absolute hunger, whatever may be written to the contrary by newspaper correspondents from post or staff positions of ease and plenty. They are without axes to chop their firewood. They have hardly one-third the utensils absolutely necessary to cook the miserable pittance issued. They are one-sixth of them barefooted and the remainder but little better supplied with socks and shoes. They are destitute of one-half the clothing and blankets necessary to the protection of their persons against the bleak blasts of winter.”

This complaint comes from the very army, the officers of which lately memorialized Congress to put into the ranks for the war all the men between 18 and 50 able to do any military duty; and, to meet emergencies, all males between 15 and 18 and 50 and 60, at the discretion of the President. This would deplete the productive department of the country of its entire white labor. It would diminish to an alarming extent the agricultural production of the country, at the very time when the soldiers in the army are suffering from an insufficiency of food and clothing!

The memorial itself speaks of a “dissatisfaction, apprehended or existing, from short rations.” Is it not a most rational and probable conclusion that the numerous desertions and absences without leave, to which late disasters or inability to follow up successes have been ascribed, are due to the short rations and insufficient clothing complained of? Whether this be so or not, it is surely the duty of the Government–a duty enjoined at once by humanity and sound policy–to see to it that its troops already in the field are properly fed and comfortably clothed, before it aggravates the destitution now existing and so loudly complained of, by increasing the number of mouths in its service to feed and decreasing the number of producers left at home to feed them.–Columbus Enquirer.


Steamers for the Blockade.—Last week, three Clyde steamers were reported sold for the purpose of being employed as blockade runners. These were the Caledonia, well known on the Stranraer Station, but lately running between between Glasgow and Rothsay, for which she had been fitted with new boilers and feathering floats, and now sails well; the saloon steamer Iona, the finest finished and swiftest steamer on the Clyde, built this year for Messrs. D. Hutchinson & Co’s West Highland line, which plied during the summer on the Glasgow & Ardrishaig route; and the saloon steamer Fairy, another of Messrs. Hutchinson & Co’s West Highland line, which plied from Oban round Staffs and Iona. The price obtained for the Iona was £20,000 sterling.–Edinburg Scotchman.

From North Mississippi.

General Forrest has so raised the spirits of the people of North Mississippi that one now hears good Confederate talk from every fireside in that section.

President Davis suspended the order for the removal of able bodied Negroes from North Mississippi at the request of the Governor. A correspondent writing from that section says that “leaving able bodied Negro men in that section is folly, sheer folly. Whenever the Yankees choose they can come in there and recruit their Negro regiments from our own farms. Persons holding on to these Negro men now are doing themselves and the Confederacy great injury. They will not only lose their property, but furnish Negro soldiers for the Yankees.”

The enemy at Vicksburg are about seven thousand strong. Their troops, composed of “American citizens of African descent,” are said to be well drilled, and perform garrison duty well.–Confederacy.


Condition of the Army of Tennessee.

The regular army correspondent of the Columbus Enquirer, writing from Dalton on the 9th, makes the following gratifying statement:

“In consequence of the extreme cold weather for the past two weeks, drillings in camp have ceased; fatigue parties grow slim every day, no business is carried on whatever, except what is absolutely necessary to be done; the trains arrive very irregularly from Atlanta; our commissaries find it a difficult matter to keep a sufficient supply of the staff of life on hand to supply our wants. The severity of the weather will induce many of your readers to think that the troops must necessarily suffer. Such, however, is not the case. I have yet to meet up with the first individual case of suffering in our division for the want of shoes and clothing. In making this statement I know very well that I run afoul of and contradict the statements of nearly every army correspondent upon this subject. My position in the ranks, with a gun on my shoulder, affords me a better opportunity of ascertaining the condition of the troops than those men who have snug quarters about the General in town. Dalton is not a ‘Valley Forge,’ nor is there much likelihood of its becoming so.”


Important Rebel Disclosures.—The report of Mr. Mallory, the Confederate Secretary of the Navy, contains the full confirmation of the statements heretofore published concerning the plot to release the rebel prisoners on Johnson’s Island. Mr. Mallory reports as follows:

“During the months of July and August I sent twenty-seven commissioned officers and forty trustworthy petty officers to the British Provinces, with orders to organize an expedition, and co-operate with army officers in an attempt to release the Confederate prisoners confined on Johnson’s Island, in Lake Erie. From time to time I learned that the arrangements made were such as to insure the most complete success. A large amount of money had been expended, and just as our gallant naval officers were about to set sail on this expedition, the English authorities gave information to the enemy, and thus prevented the execution of one of the best planned enterprises of the present war.”

In relation to the building of iron-clad vessels in Europe for the Confederates, the Secretary says that early in the present year (1863) his agents contracted for eight vessels of that class, five of which were built in England and three in France. He alludes to the seizure of the vessels built in the Mersey, and remarks that “another and larger vessel has since been completed, but it is doubtful if she will be allowed to leave the shores of England although it is believed the precautions taken are sufficient to exempt her from the fate of her consorts.” The vessels being constructed in France have been subject to so many official visitations that Mr. Mallory forwarded instructions to cease operations upon them for the present.

“In this connection,” says the Secretary, “it is proper for me to state that the great revulsion in popular sentiment, both in England and France, toward the Confederate Government, has rendered our efforts to obtain supplies from those countries almost abortive. In view of all possible contingencies, I have instructed the agents of this Department to wait a more favorable opportunity for carrying out the instructions previously forwarded. By the last courier, I sent instructions that will shortly be made apparent to our enemies nearer home.”

The services of Capt. Semmes, in the Alabama, are spoken of in high approbation:

“During the year he has captured upward of ninety vessels, seventy of which he destroyed, the others being either bonded or released. One of the greatest drawbacks this officer reports having experienced is the difficulty he now has in procuring full supplies of coal. The provincial English authorities have hitherto afforded him every facility, but recently they have interpreted their neutrality laws so stringently that our war vessels and privateers are much embarrassed in obtaining suitable supplies.”


The Last Yankee Story.—A lady passing through New Hampshire observed the following notice on a board:

“Horses taken in to grass. Long tails three shillings and sixpence; short tails two shillings.”

The lady asked the owner of the land the reason for the difference of price.

“Why, you see, ma’am,” was the reply, “the long tails can brush away the flies; but the short tails are so tormented by them, that they can hardly eat at all.”

Arrest of Contraband Traders.—Two brothers named Aaron and George Wolff, and Messrs. Hoffnung and Benjamin ad Eneas Been have been arrested in New York, and confined in Fort Lafayette, for being concerned in the blockade running business. They shipped goods to Nassau per brig Goodhue, which was subsequently captured by the steamer Margaret and Jessie. Messrs. I. D. Young and J. C. Budd are also confined in Fort Lafayette, on a charge of shipping contraband goods. Other parties are also visitants to that hotel whose names have not yet been given to the public. The blockade running business here is about played out.


A Cairo letter says that large quantities of cotton are coming in all along the Mississippi. The prospects are now that the amount of cotton will increase as the river rises and navigation becomes more safe. Three hundred plantations are now in successful and profitable operation along the banks of the Mississippi, and it is expected before May that both sides of the river will be in complete operation, by people prepared to labor and defend themselves.


The Chesapeake Affair.—In a review of the international aspects of the Chesapeake affair, the Toronto Globe of the 2d inst., thinks no divergence of opinion can occur between the American and English governments on any point of what appears to be a most straightforward case. As to what is to be done with the pirates, the article says:

“Their fate must, to a great extent, depend upon their character. If they acted under a duly authorized commission from Jeff Davis, they cannot be treated as pirates. But if they were not commissioned, then they must suffer the penalty which attaches to their crimes. It matters little practically whether they killed the engineer of the Chesapeake in self-defense, or whether they murdered him in cold blood, the mere fact of an unauthorized seizure of the vessel is the main point in the case. It was a capital offense, an act of piracy, and all our interests as British subjects demanded that the perpetrators should be punished. It is not a question with us as between North and South. With that we have nothing to do. All we have to care for is the vindication of our own law. Looked at in this light, the sympathy shown for the offenders by a portion of the people of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick is much to be regretted.”


The French Tobacco at Richmond.—The Tribune’s Washington dispatch says the removal of the tobacco claimed by the French government has not yet been consummated. The permission granted them was to take all tobacco purchased before the war. Information having been received that a large portion claimed by the French was bought since the commencement of the war, the case is now undergoing investigation by our authorities. Should it be found, as it is believed it will be, that such is the fact, the tobacco will not be removed. The rebels also object to its removal unless the French will raise the blockade.

JANUARY 20, 1864


Brutal Treatment of Prisoners.

The New York Post, a radical abolition organ, makes the following statement:

A part of the old Park Barracks is now used as a prison for the detention of soldiers who are under arrest for various infractions of military discipline, and thousands pass by that whitened sepulcher, little dreaming of the suffering within.

In a cage twenty feet two inches long and fifteen feet wide, boarded up on three sides, with the other arranged with slats, like the cage of the hyena in the menagerie, fifty-five men are now confined, without bunks or beds or any accommodation whatever but the floor. At night, as the officer in charge forcibly expressed it, they have to lie spoon-fashion on the floor, with heads on each other’s breasts. This, with the most economical spoon arrangement, accommodates forty-five. The rest are brought out and chained around a tree.

These men have been in this pest hole, some as long as two months, for the red tape to be spun by the inertness, incapacity and fraud which is somewhere. It is a disgrace to humanity and to the age.

The men thus inhumanly treated are white men, and those who are guilty of this most shameful and criminal barbarity are “freedom shriekers,” blatant advocates of Negro’s rights, and constant in their efforts to promote the elevation of the blacks. It shows the true character of their philanthropy, as well as the character of the Government which employs them. Such treatment is suffered by soldiers in other places. The officers in charge of this New York “Black Hole” say they have often reported to Provost Marshal Hays the real state of these men, and that he has taken no notice of their report. Gen. Dix and all other high officers had also been informed of the condition of these men, but they gave no attention to the matter. Dr. Sayre, in a report to the Mayor, describes this prison, and says:

In this room, 15 x 20, there is not a bench or a stick of wood, or anything to sit on, not even a post to lean against, except the four perpendicular sides of the room. There is not even straw to cover the floor, as a hog or horse would have, but the accumulated filth of many months is the only thing that separates the inmates from the naked boards.

In this “pen” are confined at the present time 61 men, and the officer in charge informed me that he had at one time as many as 77. Some of the men have been there from three to four months. They are thus imprisoned for various military offences, breach of discipline and desertion, all bundled in this common “pen,” sick and well, together. A guard is placed over them to prevent escape–and another guard is in waiting to accompany them to the water closet in the Park, one at a time–the other 76 must wait their proper turn, no matter how pressing the necessity from dysentery, diarrhea or other causes, and of course the result of such barbarity can be better imagined than described.

These men are fed through the bars, taking the meat and bread in their fingers, no knives or forks being allowed; spoons are allowed once a day when they have soup. No blankets are allowed them unless they happen to have one themselves when placed there, and but few of them are thus fortunate. They have therefore to lie upon the naked floor, with the exception of the accumulated filth and mud before referred to. ->

The doctor informed me that by laying upon their sides, in spoon fashion, and by close packing–putting the heads of one row on the bodies of the row in front–he could pack 45 in the pen; the rest were taken out and chained to trees, until these 45 had had some sleep, and then they were transposed.

The only mode of cleaning the apartment was by running Croton water from a hose, which forced the bones, pork-rinds, potato skins, &c., to the back corners of the room, and as it is nearly level, they remain there, and in some places were an inch or two in depth.

The men were covered with lice and vermin, and the stench was almost unbearable.


The Carnival of Corruption.—The Albany (N. Y.) Statesman, a Republican paper, says:

“Chase is bitterly complained of for his Barneys and Butlers, his Cornwells and Callicotts; his Revenue and Confiscation Agents; and Mr. Lincoln is complained of for Custom House and contract swindling, yet there is not the first move in Congress or out to expose or arrest the frauds. There seems to be a perfect carnival of corruption and crime in every department of government and little or no effort to stop it. By and by, unless there is a change, it will be found that Republican nominations as well as republican institutions are a failure.”

Alluding to recent exposures of corruption in Washington, the Cincinnati Gazette, a Republican paper, says:

“It disheartens people in support of the war for the preservation of the Government, when they see the public officers turning it to profit, and rapidly accumulating fortunes out of it. Extravagance and peculation, and suddenly-acquired wealth in the Government officers, are more depressing to the patriotic people than the deadly hostility of the rebel enemy.”

The New York Tribune is forced to say that, “as to the corruption which of late has stalked shamelessly through our legislative halls, what is to be done? If nothing, then republican institutions are a failure.”

The case of Hunt, who paid Hale the $3000 to get him out of prison, has recently been on trial before a Commission. He was superintendent of transports, and had charge of the hiring of vessels for the Government. One witness testified that a steamer hired by him was worth $65,000, that at the rate agreed upon she had earned for her owners $173,500 up to date, that the Government had supplied her coal, that her average running expenses were from $1000 to $1200 per month, which were defrayed by goods sold on board and by profits on meals and berths. Another steamer worth $55,000 was hired to the Government at $36,500 a year.

John P. Hale has declared, in the U. S. Senate, that “the liberties of this country are in greater danger to-day from the corruptions, and from the profligacies practiced in the various departments of the government, than they are from rebels in the open field.”

How can a nation be saved from such perils as now surround us, when men in high places and low are leagued together for the sole purpose of plundering it?


Newspapers.—A newspaper is a school in a family worth ten dollars a year. Even the most barren papers bring something new. Children read or hear the contents, gain intelligence of the affairs of the world, and acquire useful knowledge of more importance to them in life than a present of fifty acres of land. Parents are not aware of the vast importance of a newspaper in a family of children. We have the remark before us, and we repeat it, that two families equally smart, and both going to the same school–let one of them have the free use of a newspaper, and it would excite astonishment to mark the difference between them. Full one half, and an important half, of education, as it respects the business of the world and the ability to rise and make one’s self respectable in it, is derived from the newspapers. What parent would not wish children respectable? Who would be willing to have his neighbor’s children more intelligent than his own? Yet how trifling the sum costs! It is even in these hard times absolutely contemptible in amount, and no man ever felt it, except in its beneficial consequences, who paid his subscriptions regularly once a year.


The commerce of the world requires 6,600,000 able bodied men to be constantly travelling the sea; of this number 7,500 die every year. The amount of property annually moved on the water is from fifteen hundred to two thousand millions of dollars; and the amount lost by the casualties of these averages twenty-five millions of dollars.


The star of the French and their allies in Mexico seems to be in the ascendant. They have already occupied Guanajuato, Morelos, Querétaro and Aguascalientes, capitals of States. The next movement is to be the occupation if Tamaulipas and an advance upon San Luis de Potosi, the seat of the National Government, and a march of Miaramon upon Durango. Tis will involve the possession of Matamoros and the Southern banks of the Rio Grande, and bring the French troops face to face with our own. The importance of these conquests will be seen by the summing up of the Tribune:

The French and their allies have now complete, or nearly complete, control of the States of Vera Cruz, Puebla, Mexico, Tlaxcala, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, together with an area of about 72,000 English square miles, with 3,500,000 inhabitants. They have, besides, gained a foothold in the States of Tamaulipas, Tabasco, Yucatan, Michoacán and Guadalajara. They hold as yet only a small portion of the territory of the republic (from one-ninth to one-eighth) but have already within their lines a majority of the population.

A letter has been received in San Francisco from Juarez, which frankly admits it to be impossible for the Mexicans to compete with the disciplined troops and arms of the French, and the consequent necessity of confining themselves to a guerrilla warfare. Juarez, like the national party of Mexico generally, expresses in his letter the hope that the tide will be turned on the restoration of the Union, which he desires with all his heart. Then he thinks thousands of enthusiastic volunteers will find their way to Mexico to join in the common defense of the American Continent against the encroachments of a European Power.

Maryland seems to be decidedly in favor of immediate Emancipation. On the 13th the House of Delegates definitely established the position of the members on the question of emancipation. Mr. Hobb of Alleghany introduced a preamble and resolution declaring that the true interests of Maryland demand the policy of emancipation should be immediately inaugurated within her borders, that the Legislature declares its intention to submit to the people at as early a day as practicable a call for a Constitutional Convention, so as to give them an opportunity to carry such a policy into effect, and requesting our Senators and Representatives in Congress to use all honorable efforts to secure the passage of a law by Congress whereby all loyal owners who have suffered a loss of their slaves shall be reimbursed. By a vote of 48 to 22 the rules were suspended, and the resolution passed the second reading. A proposition was made to amend the last resolution by striking out the words “loyal owners,” and inserting “all who own slaves, and have not engaged in actual hostilities against the Government of the United States, or given aid or comfort to those engaged in hostilities against said government.” Rejected–yeas 19, nays 51. The preamble and resolutions were finally adopted by a vote of 51 to 15, seven members, being absent or not voting.


Unemployed Generals.—The following is the list of Major General not on duty, sent to Congress on Wednesday, with the length of time they have been off duty:

George B. McClellan, thirteen months; John C. Fremont, with staff of six officers, sixteen months; William S. Rosecrans, with staff of three officers, one month; Don Carlos Buell, thirteen months; John A. McClernand, six months; Lewis Wallace, six months; R. H. Milroy, five months; Richard Oglesby, six months, wounded at eh battle of Corinth, Miss.; Thomas L. Crittenden, with staff of three officers, two months; Alexander McDowell McCook, with similar staff, two months; Daniel Sickles, severely wounded at Gettysburg, but returned to field since report was made out, with staff of three officers, five months; George L. Harstuff, wounded, sick, and ordered before the Retiring Board, two months; D. O. C. Ord, sick, but returned recently to his corps, one month.


The Senate finally passed the Conscription Bill Monday. It consolidates both classes and limits the operation of the commutation clause of $400 to one draft; that is, until all others are drafted in that district where the sum is paid, when the commuter’s name again goes on the list for draft. Clergymen opposed to bearing arms are detailed to hospitals as non-combatants. The Ways and Means Committee Monday reduced the Naval appropriations $40,000,000, stopping the construction of all iron-clads requiring one year to complete.

22, 1864

Wails from the South.
[From the Charleston Mercury.]
“Conscript all Men–Tax all Property–Suspend the Habeas Corpus.”

It is a bad sign when, in place of the steady self-possession and calm exercise of wisdom displayed by the Roman Senate after the battle of Cannæ, the recklessness of alarm and demagoguism show their presence in the Congress of the Confederate States. Propositions to trample upon the constitution under which the legislative and executive branches of the Confederate Government hold their seats in Richmond–to violate the oaths of office, and, under the plea of necessity, without authority of law and against State rights, to place all persons and all property and all liberty under the control of dictatorship, may be thought by some to be fraught with safety and peace. But it becomes the patriotic, intelligent and unterrified representatives of States and peoples to comprehend the true causes of our danger, and to apply such remedies as the great legislative powers of the country afford. Not a want of power, but a failure to employ the best agents, and to use efficiently the powers conferred, has brought us into our present condition of peril. The mismanagement of our financial affairs and military resources, with the inefficient execution of important laws, indicate the source of our weakness and the direction where the legislative attention is most needed. Instead of going into wild revolutionary talk, like some that has been uttered, and proposals to accumulate all power in the same hands, Congress may bend its efforts to infusing competency and vigor into the bureaux and departments of the administration, without upsetting or government or overriding laws under the constitution. Congress has power enough, if it will but use wisdom. The executive has power enough, if used with energy and wisdom. Anything else is madness.

[From the Richmond Examiner.]
The Blockade–The Cotton Question Again.

It is understood that measures have been recently, and very positively, recommended to Congress to take the private cotton in the Confederacy. The particular necessity of this measure is said to be that the government cannot carry on its European trade (which, in fact, has grown to be so large and important that the organization of a separate bureau, attached to the War Department, has been recommended to conduct it) at the present ruinous rates of freight and exchange in Confederate money. So excessive have become the rates of freight and exchange that, on calculation, it was found that the mere charge, independent of the cost of the cargo, for the freightage of a steamer of three hundred tons from the West India islands to one of our ports, were to the government upwards of two millions of dollars in its currency. Under these circumstances, the department has not hesitated to inaugurate the plain policy of evading the blockade with steamers purchased and run by its officers.


Poor Fools.—The Springfield Republican is out of patience with those Republican papers which seek to cover up the corruption in the New York Custom House, and in other departments of the government, because the swindlers belong to the Republican party. It calls such papers and partisans “poor fools.” It says:

“The attempt of some of the administration papers to deny, cover up and excuse the recently discovered frauds upon the government is monstrous. It is [as] absurd as it is wicked.  ->

If this false policy is to prevail in the party it will bring upon itself utter and disgraceful defeat. It does not require more than ordinary sagacity to see this, and yet more than half the Republican papers we open are engaged in this suicidal work, and seem to think that they thus prove their loyalty to party. Indeed, many of them talk as if it were a work of patriotism to shield the knaves who are plundering the national treasury. Some of the poor fools go so far as to accuse of sympathy with the rebels all who are honest enough to tell the truth about these matters, and do not see that they are putting into the hands of the enemy their most effective weapons against the administration and its supporters.”


False Reports.—The New York papers are moralizing over the enormity of the sin of sending by telegraph false reports of victories or reverses in battle, or other news in relation to the war. The recent reports telegraphed all over the country from the St. Louis Republican, of officers of the rebels to sell us cotton, are instanced as cases in point. We fully agree with our New York contemporaries that the manufacture of news, particularly war news, for speculative purposes, is a high crime; but there is such a thing as overshooting the mark–of manufacturing news of so improbable a character that no one of ordinary perceptive faculties would be taken in by it. The reports originating in the St. Louis Republican were precisely of this nature, though the New York Tribune professed to believe them. One of these reports was that the rebel government had offered to sell us all the cotton we wanted and take pay in greenbacks, neither party asking any questions. The other one was that the rebel general commanding in the Southwest had offered to sell us all the cotton in that region and to abandon the country with the proceeds. Names were mentioned, and other particulars given to give the reports a plausible exterior. Still no shrewd man believed these reports, nor were they believed by many who could lay no particular claim to shrewdness, and therefore they were innocent as compared with reports of victorious battles, which turn out to be most inglorious defeats. In this case the hearts of the people are touched, and not their pockets alone; but the motive of the originators of the report may be the same in either case–speculation, money-making by the few within the ring. If this could be stopped it would be most desirable to do so, but we do not see how it can be done, and therefore people must be wary of improbable reports by telegraph.


The New York Custom House.—The collector at New York is seeking to establish such regulations in his department as shall hereafter prevent the shipment of goods contraband of war, the ultimate destination of which is Southern ports. He has directed that hereafter none but parties known to be responsible, endorsed by affidavit, shall be permitted to ship goods contraband of war to suspected ports. The Deputy Collector will require proof of the sufficiency of all bonds. The sureties (one-half of which are to be real estate) are to be double the amount of the value of the property shipped. A description of the goods is to be given in the obligation, specifying each article, that there may be no dispute concerning the particular articles exported. For the present, suspected articles, or those concerned with persons who have been arrested, will not be permitted to ship goods to “contraband ports.”

JANUARY 23, 1864


Winter Quarters in Virginia.
[Correspondence of The Republican.]

Camp near Brandy Station, Va., January 14.

The Black Scavenger Corps.

Are there any crows in Massachusetts this winter? Don’t turn away saying “of course there are.” If you haven’t seen them yourself, or cannot bring some responsible witness who has, perhaps, “of course there are not.” I have been led to believe that all the able-bodied ones, at least, have enlisted and joined the army. One brigade, of the corps attached to the army of the Potomac, is encamped near us. I am not sure that an entire division isn’t there. It is a well ordered force, too, with daily drill and everything complete. You should hear them answer to their names at reveille. You would think all the wagon trains in the division were moving. Every morning they are drilled for an hour or so, and afterwards are sent out on picket, to forage, and attend other duties. When they rise the air is literally darkened. Theirs is not the highest service in the army, but it is perhaps not the least useful. They form the scavenger corps. Their duty is to consume the refuse matter, which is thrown out in immense quantities in the neighborhood of camps. Perhaps, as their work concerns the sanitary condition of the army, they should be reckoned as belonging to the medical department. Why not? They prevent sickness. The importance attached to the labors of these humble coadjutors of the surgeons is indicated by a special order from the provost marshal, Gen. Patrick, forbidding their destruction. The consequence is that they lose all that shyness which characterizes them in other places, and flock in the immediate vicinity of the rest of the army.

The Dismantling of Deserted Camps.

The crows are not the only scavengers. One of the most amusing sights is the plundering of a deserted camp. You have seen a swarm of flies settle upon spilt molasses. Well, just so the soldiers pounce upon a camp in search of valuables. Of course, there are many such let behind in breaking camp, things which were too cumbersome to be carried on a march. Extra clothing, blankets and tents are gobbled up ruthlessly. The principal prizes, however, are the log and boards in the bunks. Well they may be, for the woods are nearly two miles from camp, and much of the wood used for fuel and building has to be carried that distance on the back. Last week two brigades of this division were ordered off. For a day or two afterwards guards were kept on for the protection of the camps; that is, you understand, to prevent any but themselves from appropriating the treasures. On Thursday the restriction was taken off. There was no regular announcement of the fact; but in less than half an hour every regiment around knew it, and flocked to the place. Then the fun began. Here is one fellow with a table under one arm and on the other side a box filled with knick-knacks. Here is another with staggering under a great log. There is a stove just from home, new, with pipe and all the fixtures ready to be set up. It arrived the day before. I am afraid there were some hard words when the order to pack up came. A box of hard bread has been emptied down here; and nearby beans, pork and soap lie among blankets, coats, pants and tents. Old canteens, haversacks and gun equipments are strewn about, with bottles intermingled, the explanation of sundry noises, dilapidated garments and bruised faces. One crowd prowls about, searching for any portable articles of value which the guard had left. ->

But the larger part are engaged with the bunks themselves. How they work ripping off the boards, tearing up the logs, pulling, and pushing, with pickax, ax, logs and hands–any way to get them off. The mule teams are at work, too, carrying off the spoil. In a few hours hardly a vestige of wood remains. The chimneys are left; but these, too, disappear the next day, pulled down in search of stone. The work is done, and thoroughly done. A few mud heaps only remain. When we leave, similar scenes will be enacted, unless the movement is general. When we leave. How much some of us would like to have prescience of that event! We are the only brigade of the division remaining here, and several times have been on the point of departure. It is not improbable, however, that we shall remain in our present camp until spring, or at least in this neighborhood. Our line has, you know, been pushed out until part of it lies some miles beyond Culpepper.

The Re-Enlisting Veterans.

Will you be patient under a few words about re-enlistments? It is, or has been, the great interest with us. The number of veteran soldiers obtained is, without doubt, much larger than was anticipated by the government. How the matter stands in other corps, I do not know; but in the 6th corps, nearly or quite 7000 have re-entered the service. This does not include the portion of the portion of the crow corps attached to us. Our regiment returns 118. For efficiency, veteran soldiers are worth all and more than all the special bounty granted them. They would be worth it if it were twice the amount. They are more effective than twice the number of new men, more reliable and less liable to sickness. In our own regiment there have been no deaths from sickness for the past year, except in one or two cases when the regiment was on the march, and the men were transported to Washington. For more than six months there has been but one case of severe sickness. Compare this with the mortality in new regiments. There seems to be a preference among those enlisting for a new over an old organization. This is not wise. A man is not only more efficient as a soldier, but his service is easier and safer in an old organization than in one just formed. He learns at once all the arts of lightening the burdens of a soldier’s life, which are so important, without the previous experience of suffering. In this way, the liability of sickness and death is greatly diminished. On the battlefield the advantage is no less evident. Old regiments suffer least. To illustrate: At Gettysburg this regiment was ordered up to support a part of the 2d corps. They crossed the open space near Gen. Meade’s headquarters just as the rebels opened their terrific cannonade of Friday afternoon. The iron storm burst upon them in all its fury. What it was has been often told as well as words can express it. But through all, this regiment passed hardly scathed. Not so the one immediately behind. A new regiment, it had not learned the advantage of scattering as widely as possible under such circumstances. Attempting to advance in close column the havoc was fearful.

1 mirabile dictu is Latin for “wonderful to relate.”

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