MARCH 6, 1864

Davis and His Generals.

The New York Tribune has a special Washington correspondent who seems to have as high an opinion of the capacity of Mr. Davis and his general as if he belonged within the “so-called” himself. He thus writes under date of the 17th ult.:

All the advices received lately from Richmond agree in stating that the rebels are making energetic efforts for the next spring campaign. They are now organizing their finances, so as not to be troubled hereafter by a depreciated currency; their granaries are filling up rapidly by means of tax in kind; their equipment by means of voluntary donations; and their armies by means of a sweeping conscription, embracing both old and young. Of course, these extraordinary levies are not executed without difficulties. People who have hitherto escaped conscription grumble, and have ever resisted by force the recruiting sergeant; violence has been used against the reluctant recruit; newspapers have carried their voices against these high handed measures; public speakers in and out of Congress have opposed the Government; mothers have protested against the enlistment of their boys; planters against the impressment of their slaves; farmers against a law which deprives the soil of the hands necessary to its cultivation. But notwithstanding all this, I am yet to discover a single fact which can lead me to doubt the ability of the rebel Government to carry all these high handed measures to a successful measure. People will resist, but resistance will be partial. At all events it will yield to the inexorable law of public necessity, now the ultimo ratio of the leaders of the rebellion. When a rebellion is reduced to so intricate straits as the Confederacy now is, what can its leaders do but to demand implicit obedience and the surrender of all the rights of the people into the hands of a single man? That is what the South has done. You may then rest assured that whatever Jeff Davis chooses to require, the Confederates will either willingly or by force grant.

This may be illustrated in different ways: by the rapidity with which the rebel armies have been filling up their ranks; by the Legislature in executing the biddings of the Executive; by the initiative which the army has recently assumed in all military matters; and by the close intimacy which exists between the chief of the rebellion and his generals in the field. Long before the conscription bill was discussed, Jeff Davis had taken measures to secure the consent of the Governors of States and of the majority of the Legislature on the subject of enlistments, so that his agents would ac in various parts of the country as if the bill had already passed. This accounts for the large number of recruits which have recently been added to Lee’s and Johnston’s armies, and for the immense preparations made for the spring campaign; preparations which do not consist in an increasing of the continent, but which includes also vast military works, the opening of routes, the building up of bridges, the erection of fortifications, etc. Had not Jeff Davis been the uncontrolled master of the Confederacy, all these things would not have been accomplished in the same length of time without creating a strong opposition in the South, if not a revolution. But knowing as he did the temper of the population he had to deal with, he succeed in flattering the favorite passions of the multitude, in crushing all serious resistance, and in obtaining what he wanted. In this he was powerfully assisted by circumstances which, forcing every citizen to be a soldier, soon reduced them to a state of passive obedience eminently favorable to the conquest of absolute power and to the government of a single man.

Of the three armies formed by the arts of the rebel leader, that which, at the present moment, excites the greatest interest is Longstreet’s. This is attributable to several causes: to the ability he has shown since his repulse from Knoxville in making his army live upon plunder; to the formidable position he has succeeded in securing–a position which gives him access to the Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, to Cumberland Gap, to Kentucky and North Carolina in the north, and to six of the richest valleys of this country in the south; but principally to the prospective advantages which such a position promises to the South. These advantages, as you will soon see, have not been lost sight of. The question with the rebel Government is to make Longstreet’s army fully equal to any of the great armies of the Confederacy, and quite as efficient. ->

If the thing has not been done yet, it is not the wish, but the means, which have been wanting. In the first place, Lee, on whom he relied for reinforcements, having himself no more men than he needed, could be of no assistance to him. Now things have changed. Lee having received nearly thirty thousand recruits, whose numbers are increasing every day, Longstreet can be easily strengthened. For the second plan, it is yet doubtful whether the Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, injured at Carter Station by Union troops, is in running order. The latest news says that the Watauga bridge, although progressing very fast, had not yet been completed. This bridge, although not absolutely indispensable to the increase of the Tennessee army, is essential to the transportation of guns and materials of war, without which Longstreet can neither lay siege to Knoxville, nor fortify the position he has selected as the basis of his future operations. As long as it remains unfinished, he will probably confine his operations to cavalry raids and to the exploration of the ground on which he intends to operate next spring. He is now in possession of the six fertile valleys which run between the Kentucky and North Carolina line, and of nearly all the avenues leading into these two States. These valleys are scoured nights and days by parties of horsemen, who take all they can lay their hands upon, and push their predatory excursions even as far south as Knoxville, in the vicinity of which skirmishes are of daily occurrence.

But of all the forces Longstreet has received, the most important undoubtedly is that of Breckinridge, who was detached not long since from Johnston’s army and sent to Southwest Virginia, in order to support him. At first the importance of that movement was not appreciated. It was thought that Breckinridge’s men were an isolated and independent command. But when it became known that his and Longstreet’s were in reality but the two wings of the same army, and that a force of about 45,000 men had been, in fact, gathered on the East Tennessee line, and could at any moment move in a western direction, then the policy of the War Department began to be better understood. The name of Breckinridge was immediately associated with the idea of an invasion in Kentucky. What other reasons would be assigned for his removal from Dalton? Was it not clear that Breckinridge’s advance in the direction of his own State could mean nothing but an expedition in the interior of Kentucky? This supposition was strengthened by the presence in Longstreet’s corps of Buckner, a Kentuckian by birth, and formerly commander of the State Guard under Magoflin. Buckner, it is rumored, for the purpose of taking command of the army which is to invade Kentucky, and for no other object. He and Breckinridge had been appointed as the leaders of the expedition, leaving Longstreet on the other side of the Cumberland Gap, for the purpose of protecting their rear and of preventing, at the same time, Gen. Schofield from injuring the Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, upon which they intended to fall back in case of reverses.

Such are the plans of the rebel leaders as they are currently reported in Richmond among military men. The aim of the expedition is obvious. The rebel armies are becoming less effective every day on account of the scarcity of the recruiting element, and they want to glean in a comparatively fresh field. Kentucky, they think, is admirably situated for such an operation. They assert that it has more able-bodied men attached to the South than any other border State, Tennessee excepted–more people inclined to countenance an invasion than either Maryland or Missouri, and far more provisions and cattle in store than those two States. They say that all the Kentuckians are now wanting is a nucleus around which Southern sympathizers may congregate with the certainty that they will not be abandoned afterward. Breckinridge and Buckner’s army will be strong enough to give the sympathizing Kentuckians all the protection they require. They will not enter Kentucky without being provided with the means of attack and resistance adequate to the dangers they have to encounter and to the highly probably result which they expect from their audacious undertaking.

MARCH 7, 1864

Kilpatrick’s Raid.
Great Destruction of Rebel Property.

Headquarters, Fortress Monroe,
March 4th, 1864.

To the President–I forward the annexed account of Gen. Kilpatrick:

Yorktown, March 4.–Col. Dahlgren was directed to make a diversion with 500 men on the James river. He attacked at 4 p.m. Tuesday and drove the enemy in on Richmond. The main attack having failed, Col. Dahlgren attempted to rejoin me near the meadow bridge. He and Col. Cook were in the advance guard. Some of his men became separated from his main force, since which nothing has been heard from him. The main force reached me with slight loss. I have hopes that he may yet come in.

J. Kilpatrick, Brig. Gen. Com’g.

In addition, a rebel deserter informed one of my aides that a one-legged colonel and about a hundred men were taken prisoner.1 I shall hear by flag-of-truce on Sunday night, and I will telegraph again.

Benj. F. Butler, Major Gen. Com’g.

New York, March 6.–A Times special gives the following additional statements as to the results of Kilpatrick’s raid:

“Miles of railroad track on the two principal roads over which Lee transports his supplies for the northern army of Virginia, have been so thoroughly destroyed that some time must elapse before the roads can be put in running order again. Depots of commissary, ordnance, and quartermaster’s stores were burnt or destroyed. No less than six grist-mills and one saw-mill, principally at work for the rebel army, were burnt. Six canal boats loaded with grain, several locks on the James river canal, and the almost invaluable coal-pits at Maniken’s Bend, were destroyed.

“Nearly 300 prisoners were captured. Several hundred horses were pressed into service, and hundreds of Negroes availed themselves of this opportunity to come into our lines.”

The following account, from the same source, of the expedition after leaving Richmond, is of interest:

“At night the command went into camp at a place six miles from the Chickahominy. At about 10:30, just as the command was fairly asleep, except those on duty, the rebels opened a two-gun battery upon the camp of Gen. Davis’s brigade, and immediately after charged the camp of the 7th Michigan. The men, though taken entirely by surprise, seized their carbines, and under Col. Litchfield, supported by the 1st Vermont, handsomely repulsed the enemy. Several men were wounded, and Col. Litchfield, who is missing, it is feared is also wounded. Gen. Kilpatrick decided to move across the White House railroad and down the Peninsula. During the day Capt. Mitchell, of the 2d New York, with the bulk of Col. Dahlgren’s command, rejoined the main column.

“The enemy Tuesday night, and all day Wednesday and night, hovered all about the command, and picket skirmishing was almost constantly going on in different directions. Wednesday morning, at about nine o’clock, a large force of cavalry came upon the rear of the column. Gen. Kilpatrick was not unprepared for this, and decided to give them battle. The 1st Vermont, under Lt. Col. Preston, assisted by Capts. Grant and Cummings, and the 1st Maine, bore the brunt of this fight, which lasted over an hour, while the 6th Michigan and other regiments of Gen. Davis’s brigade, were in position to render whatever assistance might be necessary. Only one charge was made, and that was made by Co. A, 1st Maine, led on by Capt. Estes, A. A. G., and Capt. Cole, when five of the enemy were captured. The enemy retired, but when the command moved forward, were harassed the rear and flanks. On this day (Wednesday) several refugees from Richmond came into camp and reported the presence of Capt. Wilson, of the 2d Ohio, who had escaped from the Richmond prison. For some reason, however, best known to himself, he did not join the command. Wednesday, also, Lt. Whittaker was sent to destroy Tunstall’s station on the White House railroad, but on arriving there, much to his astonishment, he found the place in flames. From Negroes in the vicinity he ascertained that a company of Union cavalry from Gen. Butler’s department had just left there. This was the first intimation of assistance being so near at hand.

“Thursday morning Gen. Kilpatrick moved toward New Kent Court House, and on the way met Col. Spear, in command of a cavalry force, looking after Gen. Kilpatrick’s command.”

From North Carolina.

Newbern, N. C., March 1.–Jeff Davis has suppressed the Raleigh Standard. Its editor, Hon. W. W. Holden, the great leader of the opposition party, will doubtless be the next Governor of North Carolina, the people having thus expressed themselves at the various public meetings which have been held in all parts of the State. This act creates great excitement, and makes Mr. Holden’s election more certain next fall.

The rebel ram Atkinson, on the Neuse river, 35 miles above Newbern, is almost complete, and is a very formidable affair. It is plated ten inches thick and carries four heavy guns. The rebels are now removing the river obstructions this side of Kinston, and are making every preparation to renew the attack on Newbern, Washington and Plymouth.

The rebel ram on the Roanoke river, of the same size, is reported ready to move on Plymouth, and the ram on Tar river is also reported ready to move on Washington.

The Raleigh Confederate says the demonstrations on these points have been only diversions, but as soon as it becomes a necessity, they will be at their disposal, any hour the confederate government desires to possess them, as they are garrisoned by only a handful of men, and two or three small gunboats at each point, the citizens and firemen constituting the majority of the force.

Brig. Gen. Wessel, commanding our forces at Plymouth, is reported dangerously ill with fever. His kindness to the citizens has made him very popular with the people in this section of the State, who are greatly exercised about him.

The necessity of making North Carolina the battle-ground is apparent, day by day, says the Raleigh Confederate.

The convention movement in this State, which is of a formidable character, has hastened the enemy’s movement in this direction, as indicated by the prompt action in regard to the suppression of the Standard.

Official information has been received here confirming the report that Jeff Davis has issued an order for the immediate seizure of all these important points, now in our possession. If this be true that they are to make the attempt, then the abandonment of Virginia by the enemy is decided upon, for if we receive reinforcements and more gunboats, the enemy cannot expect to take this point in time to save themselves from Gen. Meade.

All have confidence in General Peck, who will make the best possible use of the means at his command to receive the enemy. He has made earnest efforts to obtain more gunboats and more men. Should these be lacking at the proper time, the country will not hold him responsible.

The garden of North Carolina, with all its extensive water communication, is in our possession, and has cost us many millions and much precious blood. Our presence here is morally equivalent to the possession of the State. It gives encouragement to our friends in the interior, who have loudly remonstrated through some of their papers against the propriety of reducing our forces in this section.

The fact that we are under the necessity of calling out our citizens and firemen whenever threatened, is a matter of public notoriety to the enemy, and a mockery of our military pretensions. This state of things it is hoped will not exist long.

The 23 soldiers hung recently in Kinston by the enemy, whose names were published in the Richmond papers, were all members of Col. Foster’s regiment, the 2d North Carolina. At this unheard-of barbarity, our native troops are exasperated beyond all bounds. They have resolved to take no more prisoners, the difficulties experienced heretofore by their officers to restrain them is, by this barbarous butchery, made impossible.


A Conscription Battle with Women.—At Brownstown, a few days ago, an attack was made on a nest of delinquents. The deserters got wind of it and escaped to the swamp; but the attacking party were gallantly met by a garrison of women, and after a short and sharp engagement, were compelled to retire. They have often passed through showers of shot and shell unmoved, but who in thunder can stand before a perfect avalanche of axes, hot water, and hotter epithets from female batteries?–Sumter (S. C.) Watchman.


The largest blockading fleet ever stationed off Mobile is at present rendezvoused there. The Richmond, a first-class screw sloop of twenty-five guns, carries the flag of the second division. The remainder of the fleet consists of the second-class screw sloops Monongahela, 13 guns, Oneida, 10 guns, Genesee, 8 guns, screw gunboats Kennebec, 5 guns, Pinola, 5 guns, Penguin, 7 guns, Gertrude, 5 guns, and Albatross, 7 guns; and the double-enders Port Royal, 9 guns, Octarora, 10 guns, and Sebago, 10 guns. A considerable addition will shortly be made to the squadron, so that there will be a large fleet there either for offensive or defensive operations.  It has been rumored that the rebels intend to make a raid out of Mobile Bay with their iron and cotton-clads, and probably this increase of force has been made to prevent it, and at the same time to render the blockade of the port more effective.  It is stated that the confederates have recently purchased the full equipments for an army of three hundred thousand men in England, and a large portion of this supply has already been shipped for Southern ports.  Some of it was captured in the Cumberland, and some destroyed in the Dee, Emily, Nutfield, and Fanny and Jenny.


The Last Resort.—General Howell Cobb is making speeches through Georgia, endeavouring to revive the waning spirits of the people, to whom he says:

"Should all other means to fail to win our independence–should the men refuse to fight longer our battles–I will, as a last resort, assemble the women of our land and marched them forth for duty in the field."


Scheme for Paying the National Debt.—A farmer addresses his fellow farmers through the Cincinnati Gazette, and proposes the following the scheme, which, he says, will ultimately pay the public debt, namely:

“Let us remember that whilst ‘trade wields the sword, agriculture supplies the power.’ It is then that our duty to cultivate our land so as to increase that power.  At least one-half of those employed in agriculture have been withdrawn from it within the last three years, but with increased industry and effective machinery we can make up this loss.  Let us plant this spring so as to increase food for man and beast, leaving off tobacco, cotton, &c.  Our crops should be oats, peas, onions, cabbages, potatoes, corn, beans, and grass. Whilst we are planting let us look carefully to our stock, increasing the number and quality.  Poultry should be well attended to, and the stock increased four fold.  Prices will rule higher for some years to come, and whilst man is greatly benefited by our increased productions, our country will be strengthened, as an increase of food will certainly be followed by an increase of population.

“This is my scheme for paying the public debt.”

Interesting from Richmond.— The following extracts are from an intercepted letter, dated Richmond, Va., February 10th, and written by a lady to her sister:

“It is impossible to describe the gloom that pervades all society, and with all the afflictions and doubts that oppress us, there is not one comforting gleam, except the hope of a speedy end of the war.  I must confess that we have lost much of that assurance of success which once buoyed us up and pictured such bright visions of the future; but our determination to hold out to the last is unabated, and we comfort ourselves with the faith that the Providence will eventually reward our sacrifices and bring us safely out of the furnace that is consuming us.

“Society here is utterly broken up.  All fondness for fashion and pleasure seems to have been lost, and day after day passes with nothing to relieve the prevailing dullness.  We see nothing but soldiers and the paraphernalia of war.  The whole city is converted into hospitals, prisons and barracks, and our eyes have grown weary with the signs of strife.  President Davis seems discouraged, and, I fear, it is failing rapidly.  The responsibilities, disappointments and fault findings of his friends have broken him down, and it is hardly probable that he will live to see end of the war.

“The gunboats here, of which so much was expected, amount to nothing.  Only one is completed, and that is as slow as a tortoise.  Two others are nearly done; but their guns have to be in the sent to Charleston, and I don't believe they intend to finish them.  The city is full of disloyal people, and we can only trust our most intimate friends.  What could we do if the Yankees should suddenly come down upon us?  I tremble when I think what may happen.  All the old soldiers have been sent to North Carolina.  General Pickett's division, which had been here so long, was hurried off, it was said, for the purpose of capturing Newbern; but the real object was to prevent a disturbance among the people.  We never had much confidence in North Carolina, and I believe one half the State would welcome the Yankees to-day.

“The reports of destitution are too true.  Our soldiers do not get full rations half the time, and once they have been without meat ten days.  These hardships are daily growing worse, and what shall be done to relieve us we cannot imagine.  Our supply of provisions is almost exhausted, and no one knows where more is to come from.  It is true we have enough among the people to live on; but supplies for the army are almost obtainable.

“William says the government does not intend to wait for the Yankees to advance, but will concentrate our armies, and strike where least expected in overwhelming numbers.  This seems the only hope of success.  If we should be defeated this is spring, I know not what will become of us.  So many have become discouraged that I believe another disaster would almost break us up.  All we can do is to aid in the noble army by our example and contributions, and hope for better things.”

MARCH 9, 1864


Interesting Letter from Vicksburg.

Vicksburg, Miss., Feb. 23d, 1864.

The war has given to Vicksburg a celebrity wholly disproportionate to the merits of the place.  In fact, the place at present has no merits, except such as nature displayed in piling up here are the ridge of hills so steep that a small army skillfully managed could never be dislodged.  I have conversed with old residents who remained during the siege, and they are very severe upon Gen. Pemberton for having surrendered to Grant, alleging that he acted traitorously in all his operations here.  The surrender on the 4th of July was very galling, and I am told that the soldiers were very much disposed to mutiny when ordered to stack their arms.  A member of an Illinois regiment has given me a piece of the wood of the tree under which the terms of surrender were arranged.  Not a vestige of the tree or its roots now remains where it grew, all having been carried off as trophies.

The town did not suffer as much from the bombardment as might be supposed it would, considering the number of shot and shell thrown into it.  Nearly every house in the town was hit one or more times, but the displacement of a few bricks is about the only outward sign visible.  The shell came through the ceiling of the room I occupy, breaking one of the floor joists, and knocking down the plastering four or five feet square.  I counted in a small wood building, exposed to the fire from the army in the rear of the town, fourteen shot holes, and yet not one of them would admit the passage of your hand.

The town at present, is celebrated for military rule, dust, contrabands, soldiers, poor living, high prices and squalor.  If the reader requires comfort and peace of mind, give Vicksburg a wide berth.  But if compelled to come here, get into a private boarding house just as soon as possible.  There is but one hotel in the town, the Washington house, and I much doubt if there is a worst kept one in the whole United States.  I am not very particular, but I do object to being served with a piece of so-called "beef steak" which has in turn served half a dozen others at the same meal.  I never could digest a piece of sole leather, and I never could arrest well upon a baggy cot bed, with my head and feet elevated to an angle of forty-five degrees. Rye is a poor substitute for coffee–chicory is preferable, but that costs more.  With such fare, and sleepers crowded into rooms as close as cots can stand, but three dollars a day is charged.

The town is full of rumors of the movements of Gen. Sherman, but nothing can be relied on. I saw a young man this afternoon, a deserter from the rebel army, who made his escape in the confusion created at Meridian as Gen. Sherman approached there twelve days ago. He was in the hospital, but instead of going to the cars, as ordered, in the rebel retreat, he made his escape. He says the confeds ran like frightened sheep on the approach of Sherman.

I was up the river last week about a hundred miles, on this side, opposite the upper boundary of Louisiana. The guerrillas came on our right while I was there, shot at two men and ran off some fifty mules. They came within twenty rods of the house I was at, but did not stop. They are doing a great deal of mischief on both sides of the river Aborn, and say that no one shall make a crop. They will not interfere with the planters making a few bales, but are very severe on the Yankees. There probably will not be as much cotton grown this year as was anticipated.

From Washington.

Washington, March 8.

The Republican of this evening has the following: In our first edition yesterday we doubted the statement that Col. Dahlgren reached our lines in safety.

We did so because we knew at the time that the Richmond Sentinel of Saturday morning, a copy of which reached Gen. Meade’s headquarters on Sunday evening, announced that Col. Dahlgren was killed in a skirmish at King and Queen’s Court House on Mattapony river on Friday.

This fact was telegraphed to the President late Sunday night, eight or nine hours after Gen. Butler’s dispatch of Sunday was received, announcing satisfactorily of Col. Dahlgren, which was communicated by the President to the Colonel’s father, Admiral Dahlgren.

The news of the death of the Colonel was not made known to the father until this morning, because there was a lingering hope that there might be some mistake about the report in the Sentinel, consequently we suppressed the publication of the fact yesterday.

In the meantime Gen. Butler was requested by the President to make such investigations relative to his Sunday report that Col. Dahlgren was safe, as would positively settle the question. Gen. Kilpatrick was also requested to fix the time when Col. Dahlgren was last heard from.

Late last night Gen. Butler telegraphed that he had received information confirming the announcement in the Sentinel that Col. Dahlgren was killed at King and Queen’s Court House, and Gen. Kilpatrick telegraphed that the last positive information he had received of Dahlgren’s whereabouts was that he was seen on Thursday. The skirmish took place the day after, in which Col. Dahlgren was killed.

The President became fully satisfied that there was no longer any good reason to doubt the report of young Dahlgren’s death, deemed it his duty this morning to communicate the fact to Admiral Dahlgren.2 The latter has left for Fortress Monroe to take such steps in the matter as may be deemed proper under the circumstances.


Blockade Running at Charleston.—The Tribune learns that the business of blockade running has been resumed at Charleston, and that hardly a week elapses without a couple of blockade runner running over the pass and entering the harbor. The vessels which have succeeded in baffling the squadron during the last month came from Nassau with full assorted cargoes of muskets of English manufacture, shoes, blankets and medicines.

The Charlestonians have established a joint-stock company for the purpose of blockade running, and have already secured a couple of swift steamers now employed in the trade between Nassau and Charleston. These steamers, it is reported, have made two successful trips between the two cities during the last month.


Kilpatrick’s Raid.
Dahlgren’s Order to His Men.

New York, March 9.

The Richmond papers contain the following order of Col. Dahlgren:

Headquarters 3d Division,
Cavalry Corps, 1864.

Officers and Men: You have been selected from brigades and regiments as a picked command to attempt a desperate undertaking–an undertaking, which, if successful, will write your names on the hearts of your countrymen in letters that can never be erased, and which will cause the prayers of our fellow-soldiers, now confined in loathsome prisons, to follow you and yours wherever you go. We hope to release the prisoners from Belle Isle first, and having seen them fairly started, we will cross the James River into Richmond, destroy the bridges after us, and exhort the released prisoners to destroy and burn the hateful city. We will not allow the rebel leader (Davis) and his traitorous crew to escape.

The prisoners must render great assistance, as you cannot leave your ranks too far, or become too scattered, or you will be lost. Do not allow any personal gain to lead you off, which would only bring you to an ignominious death at the hands of the citizens. Keep well together and obey orders strictly, and all will be well. But on no account scatter too far, for in union there is strength. With strict obedience to orders, and fearlessness in their execution, you will be sure to succeed. We will join the main force on the other side of the city, or perhaps meet them inside.

Many of you may fall, but if there is any man here not willing to sacrifice his life in such a great and glorious undertaking, or who does not feel capable of meeting the enemy in such a desperate fight as will follow, let him step out and he may go home to the arms of his sweetheart and read of the braves who swept through the city of Richmond. We want no man who cannot feel sure of success in such a holy cause. We will have a desperate fight, but stand up to it when it does come and all will be well. Ask the blessing of the Almighty and do not fear the enemy.

U. Dahlgren, Col. Com’dg.

The following special orders were also found on Dahlgren’s person:

“All mills must be burned and the canal destroyed, and also everything which can be used by the rebels must be destroyed, including the boats on the river. Should a ferry boat be seized, which can be worked, have it moved down. Keep the force on the south side posted of any important movement of the enemy, and in case of danger, some of the scouts must swim the river and bring us information. As we approach the city, the party must take great care they do not get ahead of the other party on the south side, and must conceal themselves and watch our movements.

“The men must be kept together and well in hand, and once in the city it must be destroyed and Jeff Davis and his Cabinet killed. The pioneers must go along with combustible material. The officer must use his discretion about the time of assisting us.

“Horses and cattle that we do not need immediately must be shot rather than be left.3

“Everything in the canal and elsewhere, of service to the rebels, must be destroyed.->

“The pioneers must be prepared to construct a bridge or to destroy one. They must have plenty of oakum and turpentine for burning, which will be soaked and rolled into balls and be given to the men to burn when we get into the city. Torpedoes will only be used by the pioneers for burning the main bridges, &c. They must be prepared to destroy railroads.

“We will try and secure the bridge to the city one mile below Belle Isle and release the prisoners at the same time. If we do not succeed we must then dash down and carry the bridge by storm.

“When necessary the men must be filed through the woods and along the river bank. The bridge once secured and the prisoners loose and over the river, the bridges will be burned and the city destroyed.

“The men will branch off to the right with a few pioneers and destroy the bridges and roads south of Richmond, and then join us at the city. They must be well prepared with torpedoes, &c. The line of Falling Creek is probably the best to march along, or, as they approach the city, Goods Creek, so that no reinforcements can come up on the cars. No one must be allowed to pass ahead, for fear of communicating news. Rejoin the command with all haste, and if cut off, cross the river above Richmond and rejoin us. The men will stop at Bellona Arsenal, and totally destroy it, and everything else but hospitals; then follow on and rejoin the command at Richmond with all haste.

“As Gen. Custer may follow me, be careful and [do] not give false alarm.”


From Washington.

Washington, March 9.–It is understood in well informed quarters that Gen. Sherman’s expedition was not intended to operate against Mobile or Atlanta, as was so repeatedly asserted, but that it was for the express purpose of cutting off rebel supplies and impoverishing the section of the country in which he operates, a work which the rebel papers attest he has successfully accomplished.

The President has prescribed the necessary regulations for enlisting seamen from the army into the navy, and the Secretary of War has designated the entire number, not exceeding 12,000, which it is desirable to have at each of the naval stations fixed upon him as follows:  At Cairo 1000; Boston 2000; New York 5000; Philadelphia 2000. The following quotas are assigned: To the Department of the East 3000; Middle Department 1500; Department of Virginia and North Carolina 1500; Department of Washington 2500; Department of the Susquehanna 2000; Department of the Monongahela 500; Northern Department 1000. Commanding Generals of Departments are required to communicate with the Navy Department, and cause the men selected for transfer to be sent to the designated station in such numbers as may be fixed by the Secretary of the Navy.

Such Commanding General of an army or department which has been required to furnish a quota for the Navy is required at once to designate one or more officers, as may be required, to examine the applications and determine from them, according to the qualifications of the applicants and number to be furnished, what men shall be transferred to the Navy, care being taken that transfer enlistments shall be so apportioned among the companies of each command that no regiment shall be reduced below the minimum organization.

11, 1864

Rebel Treatment of Union Prisoners.
Narrative of Colonel Streight.

In a letter to the Military Committee of Congress, Col. Streight gives the following account of the treatment of Union prisoners in the rebel prisons at Richmond:

“My officers, together with something near one thousand other United States officers, are confined in a large warehouse building, with an average space of about twenty-five square feet to each man. This includes all room for washing, cooking, eating, sleeping and exercising. They have no bunks, chairs or seats of any kind furnished them, consequently they both sit and sleep on the floor. The windows of the building were entirely open until about the middle of December last, when pieces of canvas were furnished for the purpose of closing them to keep the cold out; but as this would leave us in the dark, we were compelled to leave a portion of them open, and endure the cold. Many of the officers were entirely destitute until our government sent a supply to us in the forepart of the winter. The supply of blankets is now exhausted, and officers who have been captured during the last six weeks have none furnished them. The ration furnished both officers and men by the rebels consists of about one pound of corn bread made from unbolted meal, and one-fourth of a pound of poor fresh meat per day. The meat has been issued to the prisoners but about half of the time since the 1st of December last. In addition to the ration of bread and meat, as above stated, the prisoners draw about two quarts of rice to one hundred men. There is a sufficient quantity of salt furnished, and a very small quantity of vinegar. I will here remark, that in a few instances, say six or eight times at most, a small quantity of sweet potatoes has been issued instead of the rations of meat. The above is the sum total of the rations issued to our officers and men now prisoners of war. The condition of our unfortunate enlisted men now in the hands of the enemy is much worse than that of the officers. From early in May last, when I arrived at Richmond, in about the 1st of December, all the enlisted men were taken to what is called Belle Isle, and turned into an enclosure like so many cattle into a slaughter pen. Very few of them had tents or shelter of any kind, and the few tents furnished were so poor and leaky as to render them but little better than none.

“All the prisoners are taken to Libby when they first arrive in Richmond, for the purpose of counting them and enrolling their names, consequently I had a fair chance to see their condition when they arrived. Fully one-half of the prisoners taken since May last were robbed by their captors of their shoes, and nearly all were robbed of their overcoats, blankets and haversacks. At least one-third of them had been compelled to trade their pants ad blouses for mere rags that would scarcely hide their nakedness; very many of them were entirely bareheaded, and not a few, as late as the middle of December, were brought in who had nothing on but an old pair of ragged pants and a shirt, being bareheaded, barefooted, and without a blouse, overcoat or blanket. ->

I have seen hundreds of our men taken to the hospital thus clad, and in a dying condition. I have frequently visited the hospital, and have conversed with large numbers of dying men brought there from the island, who assured me that they had been compelled to lie out in the open air without any medical attendance, though for several days they had been unable to walk. Though destitute of anything like quarters, and nearly naked during the cold, stormy and chilly fall season, the first and chief complaint of all those I saw and talked with was on account of an insufficient quantity of food. I will here remark, that in no instance have the rebel authorities furnished clothing or blankets to our men.

“During the winter, large numbers of our men were frozen. I heard one of the rebel surgeons in charge say that there were over twenty of our men who would have to suffer amputation from the effects of the frost. This was before the coldest weather commenced. Some time in the fore part of December, a portion of our men were removed from the island to some large buildings, where they were more comfortably quartered, but there has been no time since May last but that more or less of our men have been kept in the open air, and without blankets or overcoats. It is a common thing for the rebels to keep our men for several days entirely without food. This was particularly the case with a portion of the Gettysburg prisoners. Some went as long as six days without food, and were compelled to march during the time. The officers captured at Chickamauga assure me that they and their men were robbed of everything. Many of them lost their coats, hats and boots as soon as captured, and then were nearly starved and frozen. . .

I have before remarked, it is impossible for me to enumerate, in this communication, but a few of the many acts of barbarity which have come under my notice, though I have endeavored to give you a sample of such as will enable you to form a correct conclusion relative to the treatment our unfortunate men are receiving at the hands of the inhuman people with whom we are at war. They seem lost to every principle of humanity, and it is my candid conviction that their brutality to our prisoners is only measured by their fears.”

It is slavery that has demonized the rebels, and no mercy is to be expected at their hands. It is manifestly their purpose to break down and kill off as many of our unfortunate Northern officers and soldiers, captives in their hands, as they can by starvation, exposure and other murderous devices.

MARCH 12, 1864


The Attack on Mobile!
Bombardment of Fort Morgan Corroborated.
Beauregard Reported in Command of the City.

New Orleans, Feb. 24.–To this moment our news is quite in a nutshell. Admiral Farragut, it is reported, opened fire on Tuesday last with mortar-boats and gunboats, it is said on Mobile, but most likely on Forts Morgan and Gaines, its outer defenses. . . .

The troops in this department, so far as known, have no novelties to report. Toward Brashear and the Teche the report is that the rebels are in force, but in what force is not known. A few prisoners were brought in yesterday, and a few Texas refugees came in to-day. The former look fat and hearty, and so do the latter, but declare themselves lean and hungry. Thirty-five prisoners escaped yesterday from a new prison just instituted here in some of the confiscated stores on Carondelet street, and as yet but two of them have been recaptured.

We have various rumors about Sherman. One makes him master of the situation ad driving his foes before him; another says that he “has captured 20,000 conscripts,” and others declare his defeat and annihilation. All that we reliably know is that his communication with the Mississippi river has not been kept open, whether by his own design or that of his foe is not known, and the cavalry of the confederates is devoting itself wholly to him.

Key West, Fla., Feb. 27.–News has been received here that Admiral Farragut had commenced the proposed attack on Mobile. About a week since, the admiral arrived at Pensacola, and left orders for several vessels to be sent at once to Mobile Harbor, and they have since sailed. The Tuscarora and ten mortar boats were among the vessels which joined the fleet. It is reported to-day that the admiral opened fire on Fort Morgan, as the works gave promise of earlier destruction than the other fortifications; and there is also a rumor that Gen. Beauregard has been transferred from Charleston to take charge of the defenses of Mobile, which include a network of cables, chains, sunken logs, and other hindrances in the port near the city and opposite the rebel batteries. The obstructions are similar to those which have prevented the approach of Admiral Dahlgren’s fleet into Charleston. No result of the bombardment has yet been made known; but it is believed that Fort Morgan will be ultimately destroyed or captured. Of course, this belief is based less on the strength of the fort than the successes for which Admiral Farragut has been distinguished.


Army Stockings.

I have been creditably informed by soldiers from the army of the Potomac, and other departments, that there is a universal complaint all through the army in regard to the sizes of stockings furnished the soldiers. Our regiments contain only a few “six-footers,” compared to all other heights. Then why are such a quantity of mammoth sizes manufactured? There are many slight young men; others are only mere boys–who are to be supplied from military sources, with feet only numbering five, six or seven, who are often compelled to wear Nos. 10 or 12, to their great annoyance, in consequence of the folds that form in getting on a show. Such plaits are intolerable in camp, but still more so on the battle field or the long fatiguing marches, which inflame the part thus incommoded by constant irritation, until the victim is unfit for duty, and often suffers a long series of tortures in consequence of such discrepancies. If this is a “military necessity,” it is a most disagreeable one. A moment’s reflection would convince any one of the propriety of furnishing graduated sizes of stockings, as well as other sizes of apparel. Although the last are not the least of a soldier’s equipment. It would be a matter of economy as well as comfort, saving one-fifth of the raw material to every manufacturer. If ladies on Sanitary Committees would direct in this matter, the result would be hailed as the harbinger of brighter days, and greater military success.–Lina Mary.


The camels imported for the government six years ago, and since kept near the Tejon reservation on the plains, have increased from fifteen to thirty-seven. This is the only increase, except of debt and taxation, that has been reported under government management. We hope the camels will continue to increase, so that the administration can have something to boast of. It would not be surprising if it should some day wake up to the fact that it has also an elephant on its hands.–N. Y. World.


Washington News and Gossip.
Senator Wilkinson’s Attack on Gens. M’Clellan and Meade.

Senator Wilkinson, in a “personal explanation” to-day, endeavored to show that the eastern troops were not as inefficient and useless as he had represented them to be on several occasions in the Senate; but that Gens. Meade and McClellan were responsible for all the blunders of the Army of the Potomac. His abuse of Gen. Meade was severe, and is part of the radical programme to get him out of the way. He stated that Gen. Meade gave an order for the retreat of the entire army at Gettysburg, but one corps had got so far into the fight that the retreat could not be effected. 

A well known major general, it is understood, gave this in evidence yesterday before the Committee on the Conduct of the War.

General Meade.

General Meade arrived here to-day, having been summoned to appear before the Committee on the Conduct of the War, to answer charges preferred against him by Generals Sickles and Doubleday, alleged to be ordering a retreat at Gettysburg. A full opportunity will be given to him to disprove them, and if he fails it may lose him the command of the Army of the Potomac. A number of the officers who participated in the fight at Gettysburg have been subpoenaed. The matter is assuming a rather serious aspect.

The War on Meade.

The fact which transpired before the War Committee, that Gen. Meade, on the night of the first day’s fight at Gettysburg, gave an order to retreat, which was rendered impossible by one of his Corps commanders getting into a fight (some of the newspaper correspondents knew that the commander had a copy of the order in his pocket at the time,) was made the subject of a speech in the Senate yesterday, in which it was lamented that Meade had none of the “blundering audacity” of Grant, as the Richmond Sentinel calls it. It was also made the opportunity last Sunday of a demand upon the President, by an eminent Senator, for the removal of Gen. Meade. It was said that the War Committee called upon the President to-day and renewed this demand. Gen. Sickles and Gen. Doubleday have been examined before the Committee upon the management of the Battle of Gettysburg.

1 Colonel Ulric Dahlgren had lost his right leg during the Gettysburg campaign.

2 Of several places that Lincoln visited when he had a rare free moment, the most frequented was the Washington Navy Yard, which was under the command of his friend Dahlgren. They would enjoy a cigar and some brandy while fishing on the Potomac. That Lincoln made it is his personal duty to verify and then share this painful news with his friend speaks volumes for his humanity.

3 Standard procedure during the Civil War, not specific to this raid. This is not an “extraordinary” order; horses and cattle are resources.

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