MAY 22
, 1864

Cave Life in Vicksburg.

The wife of a Confederate officer, who was confined within the “wall of fire” which surrounded Vicksburg during the memorable days of last April and June, has written an entertaining volume on the scenes and incidents which there transpired. Like most of her companions she was compelled to seek shelter from the deluge of iron hail in the caves so often alluded to.

“Caves were the fashion–the rage–over besieged Vicksburg. Negroes, who understood their business, hired themselves out to dig them, at from thirty to fifty dollars, according to the size. Many persons, considering different localities unsafe, would sell them to others, who had been less fortunate, or less provident; and so great was the demand for cave workmen, that a new branch of industry sprang up and became popular–particularly as the personal safety of the workmen was secured, and money withal.”

Her faithful servant, George, who always remained with her, came near being killed at one time by the “Yankee shells.”

“One night I could scarcely sleep, the explosions were so loud and frequent. Before we retired, George had been lying without the door. I had arisen about 12 o’clock, and stood looking out at the different courses of light marking the passage of the shells, when I noticed that George was not in his usual place at the entrance. On looking out, I saw that he was sleeping soundly some little distance off, and many fragments of shells falling near him. I aroused him, telling him to come to the entrance for safety. He had scarcely started when a huge piece of shell came whizzing along, which, fortunately, George dodged in time, and it fell in the very place where he had so lately slept.”

On another occasion, a shell penetrated the cave to the great horror of the occupants.

“It was about four o’clock one Wednesday evening; the shelling during the day had gone on as usual. I was reading in safety, I imagined, when the unmistakable whizzing of Parrott shells told us that the battery we so much feared had opened from the entrenchments. I ran to the entrance to call the sergeants in, and, immediately after they entered, a shell struck the earth a few feet from the entrance, burying itself without exploding. I ran to the little dressing room and could hear them striking around us on all sides. I crouched against the wall, for I did not know at what moment one might strike with the cave. A man came in very much frightened and asked to remain until the danger was over. His servants stood in the little niche by the entrance and the man took refuge in the little ell where I was stationed. ->

He had been there but a short time, standing in front of me and near the wall, when a Parrott shell came whirling in at the entrance, and fell in the centre of the cave before us all, lying there smoking. Our eyes were fastened upon it, while we expected every moment the terrific explosion would ensue. I pressed my child closer to my heart and drew nearer the wall. Our fate seemed almost certain. The poor man who had sought refuge within was most exposed of all. With a sudden impulse, I seized a large double blanket that lay near, and gave it to him for the purpose of shielding hi from the fragments; and thus we remained for a moment, with our eyes fixed in terror on the missile of death, when George, the servant boy, rushed forward, seized the shell and threw it into the street, running swiftly in the opposite direction. Fortunately the fuse had become nearly extinguished, and the shell fell harmless–remaining near the mouth of the cave as a trophy of the fearfulness of the servant and our remarkable escape.”

Finally the surrender of Vicksburg came, and the husband of the lady entered her cave-retreat, and informed her of the fact.

“It’s all over! The white flag floats from our forts! Vicksburg has surrendered! He put on his uniform coat, silently buckled on his sword, and prepared to take out the men to deliver up their arms in front of the fortifications. I felt a strange unrest, the quiet of the day was so unnatural. I walked up and down the cave until M— returned. The day was extremely warm, and he came with a violent headache. He told me that the Federal troops had acted splendidly; that they were stationed opposite the place where the troops marched up and stacked their arms; and that they seemed to be sorry for the poor fellows who had defended this place for so long a time. Far different from what he had expected–not a jeer or taunt came from any of the Federal soldiers. Occasionally a cheer would be heard, but the majority seemed to regard the poor unsuccessful soldiers with a generous sympathy. After the surrender, an old grey-haired soldier, in passing on the hill near the cave, stopped, and touching his hat, said: ‘It’s a sad day, this, madam; I thought we’d come to it, when we first stopped in the entrenchments. I hope you’ll yet be happy, madam, after the trouble you’ve seen.’ To which I mentally responded, ‘Amen.’ The poor hunchback soldier, who had been sick, and who, at home in Southern Missouri, is worth a million of dollars, I have been told, yet within Vicksburg has been nearly starved, walked out to-day in the pleasant air, for the first time in many days.”

MAY 23, 1864

Sherman’s Letter.

It is an old saying that children and fools speak the truth. Sherman, in his politico-military pronunciamiento, which we reprinted yesterday,1 incautiously puts the war upon its proper foundation. It is, as he declares it to be, a “war of races” and ideas. The Southern people “obstinately adhering” to their institutions, opinions and prejudices against the opinions of the North, refusing to acquiesce in the “rightful authority” of the North to mould them according to her will, must be punished till they submit, and exterminated if they will not recant their errors. That is the whole casus belli in a nut-shell. He is willing to “bear in patience that political nonsense of slave rights, State rights, freedom of conscience, freedom of the press, and such other trash as have deluded the Southern people into war, anarchy, bloodshed and the foulest crimes,” but it must be no more than talk. Unqualified submission to the government as the sole original owner of the soil and master of the fate of the people in all their conditions, social, political and religious, must be exact acted; and if it be refused by any “petulant or persistent secessions, why (says he) death is mercy, and the quicker he or she is disposed of the better. Satan and the rebellious saints of heaven were allowed a continuance of existence in hell, merely to swell their just punishment. To such as would rebel against a government so just and mild as ours was in peace, a punishment equal would not be unjust.” Finally, Sherman requests that his letter be read to the people “so as to prepare them for my coming.”

On the whole, Sherman’s letter is the liveliest and most truthful exposition of Northern ideas of government to be maintained and exercised by that section over the South which has yet appeared. He states the case correctly. Precisely such was the government established by the Lincoln party in 1861 and tendered to the Southerner for peaceful acquiescence or forcible imposition. We have printed this letter in full so as to “prepare the people” of Georgia “for his coming,” if he comes at all. No Asiatic conqueror ever yet tendered to his victims more abject terms, and no agent of despotism claimed more absolute and unqualified powers for an autocrat. Such  a document from a “so-called” Republican General in the 19th century will remain for a curiosity for future ages.


The Situation in Our Front.

At this writing there can be little doubt that our army is this side of the Etowah River. This information was brought to Atlanta by passengers on the afternoon train from above yesterday. We conversed with an intelligent gentleman, a Lieutenant Colonel of Johnston’s army, who stated that a large portion of the troops had crossed the river at Etowah bridge, and it was his opinion that the remainder would be across by this morning.

This movement was occasioned by the crossing of a heavy column of the Federals over the Etowah at Rome, and which was reported to be moving down the Marietta road. General Johnston’s rear thus threatened, and the enemy still declining the gage of battle in his front, the movement was imperative. We also believe these developments of the enemy transpired since the issue of Gen. Johnston’s war order, although we have little doubt that he was fully prepared for such a demonstration. . .

But little excitement was occasioned by the reception of this intelligence, notwithstanding the impression was general, from Gen. Johnston’s last address to his troops, that we were on the eve of a pitched battle near Cass Station. ->

All accounts, from officers and privates, represent that the enemy does not seem half so plucky as at the beginning of these operations, and their Yankee troops came up to the scratch reluctantly. In the skirmishing Thursday evening, the lines were so close a Yankee field officer was heard to say: “Charge them, men, they are demoralized!” The Yankees charged and were driven back in confusion, evidently satisfied that there was not quite so much demoralization as might have been supposed.

We are satisfied that the enemy will be anticipated in every effort to outmanœuvre Johnston. In the meantime, the necessary steps have been taken to meet either advance by whichever way they may come.–Atlanta Confederacy, 21st.

Army of Tennessee.

The position and complicated appearance of this army is involved in so much obscurity and so befogged by rumors that we find it impossible to place before our readers a clear statement of what is actually occurring.2

We have been so long a cheerful and buoyant soldier during this revolution, and though it has been my misfortune to be on the retreat constantly from the beginning of the war, yet we look on the bright side of the future and intend to see nothing else so long as we possibly can help it.

We presume there is no doubt that General Johnston is still falling back, some derangement of the plan set forth in yesterday’s press reports having unavoidably occurred. But there cannot surely be any great cause for alarm. We trust that if there is really a formidable advance threatened on Atlanta, it would be more advisable for every man who can resist the onset to arm for the purpose, rather than exhaust themselves with foolish exertions to save property by removal. Atlanta must not fall. Do you hear it? It cannot, must not be.

The Army in Status Quo.

Contrary to the belief which prevailed here among the knowing ones, no general engagement took place yesterday at the front. The chances are that the fight will not be delayed many days longer. The army of Tennessee, bold, defiant and eager for the fray, still confronts the Abolition army on the north bank of the Etowah, and if Sherman will but take up the gage which Gen. Johnston has cast at his feet, the final struggle will take place.

Arrivals of Croakers.

The train which came down last evening brought quite a number of croakers from the front, who turned themselves loose in our midst and scattered a much larger quantity of unhappiness through the community than there was any necessity for. They told with eyes standing out like pot legs that the army was falling back, and at the same time exhibiting every indication of belief that Gen. Sherman and staff would take breakfast this morning at one of the Atlanta hotels.

Of course, nobody associated with the true state of things at the front did more than laugh at the croaking of these ravens. People who have been for any length of time in the neighborhood of two large armies are not to be frightened out of their propriety by the ridiculous stories of “reliable gentlemen” who don’t know what they are talking about.

MAY 24,

The Campaign in Georgia.
The Fight on Rocky Face Ridge.

A letter from Gen. Hooker’s headquarters gives the following vivid description of the fight on Rocky Face Ridge during the recent advance of Gen. Sherman’s army to Resaca:

At half-past three Sunday afternoon (May 8th) Col. Candle’s brigade, the Thirty-third New Jersey, One Hundred and Thirty-fourth New York, and Twenty-ninth Ohio in the advance, moved up the slope of the mountain under cover of a fire from Knapp’s Pennsylvania Battery. After a short distance the direction of the march was changed, and the line formed diagonally up the mountain, the right resting far up the height, facing in conformity with the course of the road. It was the “sweeping game” of Lookout over again.

The enemy were steadily driven, though they showed a heavy force and kept up a galling fire until Geary’s brave fellows nearly reached the crest of the ridge. Though the difficulty of this march was terrible, up the steep mountain side, over the loose stones, through the tangling underbrush, the foliage offering but scanty protection from the boiling sun, the men overcame it, and cheered lustily as they saw success before them. But they were met at the top by an abrupt cliff or palisade, varying in height from six to fifteen feet, with fissures at intervals, practicable some of them for two men abreast, others barely wide enough for one. Less brave men than Geary’s would have given up the attempt in despair of ever attaining the crest over this breastwork in the face of destructive fire.

But five distinct charges were made by these heroes of the Fight above the Clouds, and each time the crest was gained. Officers and men struggled up one by one, and grappled with the enemy on the brink hand to hand, and many of them were hurled over the cliff. Wounded men would topple over the precipice, and wounded men would roll for yards down the hill, displacing rocks, which, in turn, bruised other toilers up the steep ascent. Yet they gained the plateau every time, and would have held it but for an obstacle which at the commencement of the ascent they would have counted as naught. It was a line of fortifications on a rise of ground facing the cliff.

The men could not form for a charge on these breastworks; so they jumped the cliff, or got down as best they could, only to repeat the charge. Sergeant Hamilton of the 33d New Jersey, with eleven men, remained on the crest more than twenty minutes, fighting valorously, but finally was forced to abandon his proud position. He escaped unhurt by jumping off the cliff. A curve in the line of palisades enabled the enemy to pour in a flank fire from the top, and they improved it. They used explosive fuse bullets, and fought desperately, as they knew the importance of holding the gap. They used no artillery.

So, after five desperate attempts to carry out the orders to “take the gap if possible,” Gen. Geary withdrew his troops at half-past eight in the evening, under cover of a heavy fire from Knapp’s battery. The enemy did not pursue, but breathlessly commenced to throw up breastworks of logs and stones along the face of the mountain below the palisades. The “stars” of the Twentieth corps shone in the valley last night, where they heard the rebels working like beavers; heard their encomiums on the “damned Yankee mountaineers,” though they uttered them hardly above breath.

Our Muscovite Friends.– The Russian steam frigate Peresvetz, Capt. Kopytoff, which arrived here yesterday, still lies at the quarantine grounds, and none of her consorts had been sighted at 10 a.m. to-day. The frigate Vitiaz, Lieut. Krsemer, and the corvette Osliaba, Capt. Boutakoff, the latter having on board the Russian Admiral Lessoffsky, are expected to arrive here either to-day or tomorrow.


No Chance for Stragglers and Cowards.–Letters from the Army of the Potomac state that stragglers and cowards are being taken in hand and summarily shot. Several instances of deserting colors in the presence of the enemy are yet to be acted upon. One execution occurred Saturday. Skulkers will soon be taught that it is more dangerous to hide in the rear than to face the foe in open fight. There is a quiet determination among commanding officers to make such examples as will deter straggling and desertion in future.


The Army of the Potomac and Virginia Mud.–Col. Markland, General Army Mail Agent attached to Gen. Grant’s staff, and who was with him in the Southwestern campaigns, says he never saw an army in better condition and finer spirits, and never in his life did he witness such enthusiasm manifested towards a General as the Army of the Potomac manifests towards Gen. Grant whenever and wherever he makes his appearance. This enthusiasm has been manifested to such a degree as to compel the commanders of corps to request the soldiers not to be quite so demonstrative. This shows the confidence the army has in the commanding General. Colonel Markland also speaks in the highest terms of Gen. Meade, whose efforts to co-operate with Gen. Grant are unceasing.

Col. Markland says that Virginia cannot be beat for mud. When he was with the Western army he thought the cry “mud in Virginia” was more talk than anything else, but he says he is satisfied to the contrary. He never saw about Vicksburg during the muddiest times anything to surpass the mud of Virginia at the present time.


That “Stop Watch.”–Captain James F. McCunnigle, Ninth Massachusetts regiment, called upon us to-day and exhibited the watch which intercepted a rebel bullet aimed at his heart in the Wilderness battle on the 12th instant. It is a gold hunting case watch, presented to him by a friend in Boston about a year ago. The minié bullet struck it fairly and projected nearly through it, but remains embedded in the machinery of the horologe. The time piece saved its possessor from being sent into eternity, and a severe contusion was his only injury on this occasion. Captain McCunnigle bears in his breast near the collar bone a rebel bullet received by him at the bloody battle of Gaines’ Mill on the Peninsula. The first trophy he cannot, and the last he will not part with.–Washington Republican, 21st.

MAY 25, 1864


Giving Information to the Enemy.

It is right to learn from an enemy. There are many things in the policy of the rebels that our people can study with advantage. They give no information to our government through their newspapers. Something may be learned through [the] agency of spies, something from deserters, something from contrabands, but nothing if any value from the southern press. It has been so from the commencement of the war. Had the entire press of the rebel States been placed under the direct supervision of the military at Richmond, it would have been difficult to secure more effectually the practice of discretion and silence. Many of the successes of the rebel arms are primarily attributable to the reticence habitually observed by the southern people. Last fall the strongest and  most impetuous corps was detached from the rebel army of Virginia, and sent southward to the re-enforcement of Bragg. The fact was not known to the military authorities at Washington till General Rosecrans advanced and met with defeat at Chickamauga. Several of the most important movements of the enemy have  occurred without the slightest warning. Powerful columns have been sent repeatedly from one end of the confederacy to the other so quietly as to conceal the change from the federals till the fact was disclosed on the battle field. Interior communications and superior facilities for the speedy concentration of troops would have availed comparatively little to the enemy but for the secrecy which has covered their movements. Richmond papers tell us nothing of the strength or disposition of the forces operating under Gen. Lee. They are equally reticent about the garrison of the capital. If our authorities know who commands the rebel forces in that vicinity, the fact is not learned through any revelation of the press.

At the North affairs have been managed very differently. Rival papers endeavor to demonstrate their superior energy and facilities, by communicating early and complete details of army movements to the public. At one time they were accustomed to give the exact strength and localities of different divisions. Of course all such information reached Richmond a few hours after its publication in New York. The rebels forewarned were forearmed. Knowing when and where to expect attack, they prepared deliberately to meet it.

While much has been done toward repressing the evil, it is not yet cured. Correspondents with the army of the Potomac chronicle minutely the position of the different corps and the changes that occur. Lee cannot fail to derive great assistance from the knowledge thus acquired. The country should be more patient, and the newspapers more discreet. It is incomparatively better to wait awhile for details, rather than impart information that will indirectly cause the needless sacrifice of life.


Spotsylvania Flanked.

Gen. Lee’s position at Spotsylvania Court-house has been turned, and the rebel General with his army compelled to fall back. Saturday night the advance of Hancock’s corps was at Bowling Green, eighteen miles south of Fredericksburg. The other corps necessarily took up the line of march in the same direction.

The army of the Potomac now covers its communications with Fredericksburg, and has secured a highly advantageous position with reference to the enemy. ->

The principal railroad from Richmond northward, on which Lee has depended for the transportation of troops and supplies, is now in our possession. As Gen. Grant advances, it will be repaired. The enemy are forced to retreat on the circumference of a circle, of which Gen. Grant holds an arc. Spotsylvania, with its battle-fields and graves, has been entirely abandoned by both armies.

The fighting is liable to be renewed at any moment. Till army movements are consummated, we presume the public will have to remain satisfied with the details communicated by Secretary Stanton, as increased caution is enjoined with regard to the publication of army news.


Barbarity of the Rebels.

The annals of warfare do not show instances of more savage brutality than have been exhibited by Southern rebels in the present war. Almost daily, accounts are given of horrid butcheries perpetrated by guerrillas upon non-combatants which thrill the heart with indignation. One of the latest victims to the cold-blooded villainy of these inhuman wretches is J. W. Cathcart, Esq., of St. Paul, Minn., a gentleman of prominence at the west, and well known to the Asylum street merchants of this city. The St. Paul Pioneer, of a recent date, furnishes the particulars of his murder. In company with his partner, Charles H. Howland, he secured a plantation of the government near Vicksburg, and placed upon it a quantity of supplies and stock. His partner returned North to make purchases, and during his absence a band of guerrillas visited the premises. Mr. Cathcart was without weapons of any kind, as he had studiously avoided having any upon the plantation, believing that in case the rebels should appear and meet with no armed resistance, they would inflict no personal injury. On the premises was located a government hospital, in charge of Doct. Fahnesbach, an aged and inoffensive man, who was with Mr. C. when the guerrillas made their appearance. The first intelligence that Cathcart had that the villains were near was their pounding upon his door, and using oaths too terrible to repeat. Presently they broke in the door and asked, “Who are you?” He informed them. “What are you doing, — — you?” “Planting.” “Who gave you the authority to work this plantation?” He stated that he had a government lease. They then said: “Well, come along with us, and we will show you Northern men how to grow cotton, — — you.” He commenced to pack his carpet bag, but they informed him, “You won’t have any need of clothing long.” Several days after, the body of Doct. Fahnesbach was found about eight miles from the plantation. His left ear had been cut off before killing, and his person stripped of all clothing. He had been shot in the head, the ball passing in at the eye. About a mile further on, the body of Cathcart was discovered lying by a tree. He had been stripped of everything save shirt and drawers. A ball had passed through his head, going in at the temple. One of his fingers had been cut off to obtain a ring, and there were other marks of brutality.

It is villains such as these murderers that copperhead papers talk of compromising with.

MAY 26,

Proclamation Hoax.

The City of New York and other parts of the country were thrown into great excitement on Wednesday last, caused by the publication of a Bogus Proclamation, purporting to come from President Lincoln, proposing a National Fast on the 26th of May, in view of our disasters at different points; declaring Grant’s Virginia campaign is virtually ended, and calling for 400,000 more men! The following explanation of how the hoax was played on the press is from the N. Y. World:

“The World, in common with the Journal of Commerce and all the city morning papers, was made the victim of a malicious hoax by some scoundrel, who, imitating the manifold copy of the Associated Press, sent around the extraordinary proclamation which appeared in our columns this morning. Supposing it was all right, the night editor in charge published it in good faith, and its falsity was not discovered until the edition was nearly worked off. The Journal of Commerce was deceived in the same way as the World, and of course quite as innocently. The Herald, we understand, printed the false proclamation in a large edition, but fortunately for them, discovered it in time to suppress it in their regular edition.”

The authorities at Washington, notwithstanding the disclaimers of the Editors, and their efforts to discover the forger of the Bogus Proclamation, ordered Gen. Dix to take military possession of the offices of the World and Journal of Commerce, and they were so held until Saturday morning, no paper being issued from either office on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Monday both journals were printed and contain a full history of the affair.

It appears that the guilty individual, who was arrested and conveyed to Fort Lafayette, is Mr. Joseph Howard, who was educated to the newspaper business on the N. Y. Times, and is familiarly known as “Howard of the Times.” He was a thorough newspaper man, familiar with all the facts necessary to accomplish his purpose. He was a favorite contributor to the Independent, president of the First Republican Association in Brooklyn, long a member of the Rev. Mr. Beecher’s church, and a member of the Republican Committee of King’s County. He is well known in radical circles, and was the intimate associate of the most eminent of their politicians.


The War News.

In Rome General Sherman found a large quantity of provisions, and seven fine iron works and machine shops. The cars were, at the latest advices, arriving at Kingston with stores, and two days would be given to replenish and fit out for a fresh start.

It is announced that the dam on the Red River has been completed, and the gunboats were being floated over the bar in the river. It was expected that all the fleet would be brought over in safety. On the 14th General Canby was at the mouth of the Red River, prepared to co-operate with General Banks in his retrograde movement.

General Butler announces, under date of the evening of the 20th, that he has been fighting all day, the enemy endeavoring to close in on our lines. The rebel General Walker, of the Texas troops, has been captured. ->

There has been no fighting with General Meade’s army since Thursday. At the last advices movements were in progress which would soon bring important results.

General Crook’s forces are falling back in West Virginia, after thoroughly accomplishing their objects. They have destroyed large amounts of supplies, and damaged the railroad so that it will require three months to repair it. The rebel Gen. Jenkins had died of his wounds.

The pirate Florida sailed from Bermuda about the 15th inst., to cruise in the track of American vessels between New York and Liverpool.

The navy on the Florida coast has been actively engaged recently in destroying rebel salt works on the rivers of that State.

Seven miles of the Danville Railroad were destroyed by General Krantz in his recent raid; also, the dams and locks of the Lynchburg and Richmond Canal. General Heckman has been captured by the rebels.


The Next Draft.

It is understood, from semi-official sources, that the next draft will be for 300,000 men, and will take place early in July. Enrolling officers are now preparing lists of all men between the ages of 20 and 45. Inasmuch as these officers have no discretion in regard to the omission of aliens and men not able bodied, it is evident that the lists will include many who ought to properly to be exempt. Probably much more than half of the persons actually enrolled will have some legal and proper cause of exemption.

The quota of the different towns and sub-districts will be made on the basis of the number appearing on the enrollment lists. It will be manifestly, therefore, for the interest of every town to decrease the number of enrolled men as much as possible.

It is the intention of Capt. Morehouse, Provost Marshal of this District, to allow towns before the 10th of June, the time the lists must be finally completed, an opportunity to purge their rolls of all aliens and men physically incompetent, and thus reduce their quota. Unless, therefore, towns take this matter in hand and make arrangements to reduce in this way the basis upon which their quota is to be calculated, they will be obliged, under all the calls that may be made during the year, to furnish a much larger number of men than they ought of right to furnish, and a larger proportion than other parts of the District.

A very strong and systematic effort will be made in Springfield, and in other parts of Hampden County, to reduce their quotas in this way.

It is therefore of the greatest consequence that the towns of Berkshire County should immediately interest themselves in this matter and make arrangements so that at the proper time they can send forward proper evidence relative to aliens and other exempts who may be enrolled and have their names stricken from the enrollment lists.

27, 1864

Stink Pots.

A Baltimore correspondent of the N. Y. World, recently wrote a long description of the condition and defences of Richmond. In concluding he gave the following particulars of a new offensive agent to be employed in the defence of the Confederate capital:

“Before leaving the defences of Richmond I must mention a new and novel invention by Captain Holden of the rebel army. It is nothing more or less than a stink-ball designed to be fired into the works of besiegers to stink them out. About the middle of April, I was one of several civilians who, upon invitation, accompanied a party of officers to Atlee’s, a station on the Central Railroad some ten miles from Richmond to witness some experiments from this ball. The ball is an iron shell containing combustible and destructive material, as well as odiferous matter, and in appearance is similar to the stink ball in use many years ago. It is designed to be thrown by mortars, but in the tests on the occasion referred, the fuse was lighted and the shells allowed to fulminate where they were placed. The stench which followed the explosion was the most fetid and villainous that ever outraged the olfactories of man. Coleridge said that he counted in Cologne seventy-seven “well-defined and several stinks.” But if he had been at Atlee’s on the day of the experiment alluded to, he would have recognized them all, and seventy-seven thousand more. The concentrated stink of all the skunks, pole-cats, pitch, sulphur, rasped horses and horses hooves, burnt in fire, assafœtida, ferula, and bug-weeds in the world could not equal the smell emitted by these balls. But not only is the smell in itself intolerable, but it provokes sneezing and coughing, and produces nausea, rendering it impossible for men to do duty within reach of it. A single ball will impregnate the atmosphere for fifty yards round, and the fetid compound, entering everything it touches, emits the stench for a long time. The opinion of all who witnessed the experiments was that the ball was a fair offset to Greek fire, and Gen. Winder and several other officers of rank who were present, expressed the belief that it would prove more effective for driving off besiegers than anything ever invented. Be this as it may, if Richmond is ever threatened by siege, the sneezers, as the inventor facetiously calls his balls, will form a prominent feature in the defensive operations.”


What it Means.–People who read the war news must be struck with the expressions used by the writers giving accounts of conflicts. This or the other battery is spoken of as having done “splendid service!” Think of the splendor of ripping and tearing to pieces thousands of human beings, and then you have an idea of “splendid service!” “Cheering news” means that the enemy has been badly defeated, leaving the field covered with horribly mutilated remains of men and horses–men dying of thirst caused by wounds, and others crawling away minus a leg or an arm! This is cheering news. Then we have “brilliant affairs,” in which the slaughter is not quite so terrible, but it still takes many victims to make up the “brilliance” out of it. And so on through the entire war vocabulary.

News Summary.

Bishop Morris, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, thus sums up his ministerial labors for the last fifty years: Sermons preached, 7,500; miles travelled, 200,000; annual conferences presided at, 200; preachers ordained, 5,000; preachers appointed to their work, 20,000.

It was admitted in a recent debate in the House of Commons, that during the last ten years Ireland has lost two and a half millions of its population, and that the exodus is still going on at the rate of one hundred and twenty thousand per annum.

The number of bottles of champagne shipped from Paris to this country during the six months ending Jan. 1st was 1,266,847, costing about two dollars per bottle, and paid for in gold! That’s where the money goes.

The great billiard match for the championship cue is arranged to come off on Thursday, June 9, at the Hippotheatron, opposite the Academy of Music. Goldthwaite and Kavanagh are the contestants.

It is estimated that in the recent battles we have expended two million rounds of infantry ammunition and about fifteen thousand rounds of artillery ammunition.

Last Saturday evening a severe shock of earthquake alarmed the people of San Francisco, but no damage was done.

The Statesman says three thousand farms in Ohio are left without a man to attend them–thousands of fields are left to wither for the want of hands to cultivate them.


Items of Foreign News.

Sixty thousand Russians are concentrated at the mouth of the Danube, and twenty thousand more are expected. Austria has a force of twenty-five thousand men on the Servian frontier, and the Turkish Porte has determined that the army in the Romelia should be increased to one hundred and fifty thousand men.

The Maoris in New Zealand have been defeated and the English are in possession of the rich territory abandoned by them.

The whole force of the Danes is only twenty-four thousand, while the Austrians and Prussians number eighty thousand. The allies have compelled two thousand of the inhabitants to assist in the destruction of the fortifications at Frederica.

In the Danish naval engagement near Heligoland there were one hundred and seventy killed and wounded on the German side; the Danes had one killed and fifty wounded, and their ships were unimpaired.

The British fleet has sailed from the North Sa to watch the Austrian fleet. It is announced that the object is to save the Danes from being over-powered at sea, and the movement is considered as having a tendency to war.

MAY 28, 1864


Great Battle by Moonlight.–General Beauregard made a desperate attack upon Gen. Butler’s centre, commanded by Gen. Gilmore, on Saturday night by moonlight. Deep ravines protect the front of Gen. Butler’s right and left; hence the attack was made exclusively upon the centre. Beauregard led the assaulting column in person. His force altogether numbered at least forty thousand men, and they were all massed and thrown into this fight. The rebels yelled as they came up like wild men. Gilmore kept his batteries silenced until the enemy, massed, was within the best possible distance and range, when the word was given, and the death-dealing cannon opened along the whole centre.

In an instant the rebel shouting ceased; the defiant column advanced no longer. Nothing but a skeleton was left of it to reel and stagger back. Beauregard rallied new men to the breach, and again and again Gilmore hurled the defiant traitors back. The battle lasted two hours, closing about midnight.

During the battle, the gunboats on the James and Appomattox rivers shelled the enemy, doing great execution.

Gen. Butler was commanding in person during the entire battle, and at times very much exposed.

The position occupied by Gen. Butler’s forces, on a neck of land formed by the course of the two rivers, is impregnable. It is sure death and defeat to any force, however formidable, that may attempt to take it.

Our loss on Saturday night was comparatively slight, as we were fighting behind works; but the enemy’s loss must have been very large, from the fact that they concentrated upon the centre, in masses, and were not fired upon until near enough to be mowed down with certainty.


North Carolina.–Beauregard, when recalled from North Carolina to aid Gen. Lee, was coming down on the Neuse and Kent roads, and Gen. Corse (since killed) by Pollocksville on the left, with Hoke on the right. As these three columns were to march  on to their positions, the rebel ram Albemarle was to come out from Plymouth, round into and up the Neuse, and on its joining the land  forces, a general and simultaneous attack was to be made. But the rebel ram on coming into the Sound was beset by a fleet of gunboats, and made to go back to Kingston, he could not come to time. Beauregard also didn’t show his face upon the front, and thus the plan being frustrated, the column upon the left suffered most severely. The withdrawal of the enemy towards Petersburg and Richmond probably saved to us North Carolina.


Claims on Our Government.–In England a Parliamentary return has been published of all the claims made on our Government by British subjects for seizures of property, imprisonment, or other violation of rights said to have been committed from the commencement of the civil war to the 1st of March, 1864. The total number of complaints made during that period was 451, and the total number of dispatches and letters to and from the Foreign Office relating to those complaints was 2,871. The claims includes two classes, viz: injury to person by imprisonment or other means, and injury to property by the seizure of ships or cargoes, chiefly on the ground of breaking the blockade.

Send Some of the Prize Vessels to Rhode Island.–A captured vessel, laden with cotton, has just put into Newport Harbor, and then sailed on to Boston. There she will be tried and condemned, and there her cargo will be sold, and probably a considerable portion of the cotton will be purchased by our manufacturers and brought back here for use. Why will not the Navy Department order some of the prizes sent to this district for trial? New York, Boston and Philadelphia have received almost all the benefits connected with the trial of eh captured vessels, and with the sale of the condemned cargoes. Newport is accessible at all times of the year, and there can be no better market than Rhode Island. We have vigilant, prompt and capable officers, and we are sure that the prize cases would be settled more speedily and more economically here than they have been at New York. Our Congressional delegation have made efforts, we believe, to have prizes sent here, but thus far their efforts have been in vain.–Prov. Jour., 24th.


The Red River Expedition.–An escape is sometimes almost as pleasurable as a victory. And we think our readers must have had a sense of this when they learned that Admiral Porter had got his entire fleet out of Red river, and that our army had started on its return route overland. Thus ends the Red River expedition–an admitted failure. It was the last great movement of the “scatteration” policy, ere Halleck went out and Grant came in.

The land force of the Red river expedition, we presume, will return to New Orleans by way of the Opelousas country. The route is well understood, there will be no difficulty about subsistence, and no danger, we think, of any serious interruption, for the army is still a powerful one, and would probably hail the chance of encountering al its foes in that section in open fight. It may be harassed by the enemy, and if they can find a strong position in the way, they may present a front of resistance for a time, but all danger is substantially over. If it can be done, we suppose that Gen. A. J. Smith will strike across to the Mississippi river with his column of about 8,000 veteran troops. Should he do so, he will become available at any point in the campaign where he may be required. It is needless to say that he would be very welcome in Virginia. We presume, also, that should the rest of the army get safely back to New Orleans, the greater part of that, also, could be transferred East for the remainder of the season. Concentration is the word now, and everything must yield to its pressure.


The Rappahannock is once more free for our transports to pass up to Fredericksburg, thereby securing Gen. Grant’s army a new base of supplies. True, there are guerrillas hovering along the banks of the river–and we do not know but the infernal “Torpedo Corps” may be there, too–but the success our gunboats have met thus far in removing these infernal  machines, encourages the expectation that we have now but little to fear from them.


1 Sherman actually wrote the letter at the end of January 1864, but the contents evidently did not become public and reach the South for several months. (Full text.)

2 There is no segue or explanation to preface this section of the article. It appears to be from either a soldier in the Army of Tennessee or an embedded reporter.

  Having trouble with a word or phrase? Email the transcriptionist.