MAY 29
, 1864

Letter from Atlanta.

Atlanta, May 26.

Messrs. Editors: Having a moment of leisure, I will endeavor to post you, as far as in me lies, in regard to the state of affairs in this section of Georgia.

This city is the scene of a great deal of excitement and bustle, in civil and military circles. Refugees from Marietta, and the vicinity of the two contending armies, are still crowding through here, en route for a place of safety in the rear. They are all driving their cattle and all their stock with them. It is astonishing to see the stampede that is going on here among all classes. I yesterday saw a complete parlor in a box car, on the Georgia Railroad, waiting for their turn to “git up and git.”

I yesterday visited the encampment of the Militia Officers near this city, and a finer looking body of men I have never seen. They reflect credit on themselves and their State, and whenever they get into an engagement, I have no doubt but they will be felt by the enemy, as the majority of them have been in the Confederate service, and bear the scars (not scares) of veterans. All is bustle and preparation and ere many more suns rise and set, you will hear stirring news from this quarter. All look forward with confidence to the result of operations in this department, and if half the spirit of the troops were infused into the people at home there would not be so much grumbling and croaking about what should have been done and what could have been done. If they want anything better done, let them enter the ranks and win their way, step by step, until they command an army (which is not an impossibility, as Gen. Pat Cleburne can be mentioned as an instance) and then they can make those famous moves which they discuss so glibly at street corners and in reading rooms.

If anything happens I will advise you by telegraph.



We are informed that in addition to the trains running between Aquia Creek and Fredericksburg for the supply of Grant’s army, large wagon trains are passing over the road between Alexandria and Falmouth, by way of Occuquan and Dumfries. This makes a fine opening for such enterprising men as Mosby.–Sentinel.


From the Front.
the great contest for the possession of georgia.
[Our Army Correspondence from the Field.]

Near New Hope Church,
Friday, May 27th, 1864


Eds. Constitutionalist: The prospects and condition of North Georgia are, at present, rather inconsistent with one another; for the future, in point of military calculation, is much more cheering than the aspect of the country would seem to indicate.

The populace are in the wildest confusion. Men, women and children are flying in panic before the advance of the enemy, like flocks of sheep. Farms have been abandoned, homes deserted, and even personal apparel sacrificed to the terror-stricken haste which has impelled many of these unfortunate refugees. They may be seen encamped on the road side in the most abject despair, knowing and caring little as to their destination, so that they are able, with the remnant of their means, to evade the Yankee.

The military operations crowd the scene and render it the more tumultuous. The heavy wagons lumbering along, the trains of ordinance and artillery, the troops of escort, the staff officers, the couriers, all mingle in the strange din and disturb the vision. No wonder that some of the more ignorant fancy the world is coming to an end.

Atlanta is like nothing that can be conceived. The streets filled with wagons, its side-walks with excited men and women, its trenches with soldiers. Trade had ceased. The city is now a camp.

the advance.

The corps of Hooker, operating in the centre of the enemy’s line, crossed the Etowah river at the Kingston bridge during the afternoon of Monday. The object of this advance was to penetrate to Dallas, secure a position and use it as a pivot to swing round on Johnston’s flank. A strong reconnoitering party was sent forward, and did not enter the town of Dallas; but was so hotly pushed that t was forced back on Wednesday, when the entire line undertook the movement it was defeated in, which will be known as ->

the battle of new hope.

This engagement occurred during the afternoon and evening of Wednesday, the 25th. Our line stretched along the crest of Pleasant Hill, embracing the meeting house of New Hope. The point is four miles east of Dallas, the county seat of Paulding county–a village of squalid tenements, ragged appearance and very few denizens. It is twenty miles due northwest from Marietta. The ground here is undulating, sparsely timbered and unpicturesque, but it is highly military and afforded us a good position.

Gen. Stewart occupied the centre, Gen. Hindman was posted on the right, and Gen. Stevenson on the left. Eldridge’s batteries were admirably mounted.

The enemy came up at noon; but there was heavy fighting until about three o’clock, when they massed in the centre and threw a column of great force upon Stewart. That dashing Tennesseean received it with a splendid volley of grape ad Minié. But still they pressed. Orders were sent to Hindman, but they already lapped him by a brigade. Stevenson, on the other hand, was doing excellent work with Reynold’s tar heels. The fight waxed warmer and warmer as the enemy pressed closer, and Maj. Eldridge poured his volleys into them. At five o’clock there was no advantage gained. At six they came on with reinforcements. At seven they wavered, and at eight they retired behind the works, as the waning sunlight glimmered upon twenty-five hundred of their dead and wounded.

after the battle.

The night was devoted to caring for the hurt, and throwing up works for the conflict which impended on the morrow. Our loss may be estimated at less than a thousand. Gen. Reynolds was struck in the arm. Cols. Young, of the 40th, and Avery, of the 4th Georgia, were wounded. Maj. Bishop, of New Orleans, had his left arm amputated. Eldridge lost a hundred men. The disabled were sent off in ambulances to Marietta. The dead were buried. When morning dawned there was no attack. All day yesterday the circle, extending from Altoona beyond Dallas, was unusually quiet. A movement on LaGrange is suspected, but has not developed itself. One against Newman was attempted but failed.


Friday, the 27th, is varied by skirmishes of ineffective kind on our right, the enemy seeming to have designs upon our direct line. Wheeler has been on the alert. He fought them last night near Acworth and was coquetting with them all morning. The wagons lately captured by him are safely in our rear. The prisoners have gone on South.

the prospect.

There is no immediate prospect of a fight. We may have daily skirmishes and half a dozen combats before the general engagement transpires. When it does come off my impression is that it will be on the Chattahoochee river, somewhere below Atlanta.



Save Him.—Overflowing with gratitude for the splendid victory on Thursday the 12th, the N. Y. Times of the following day calls upon all patriots and the whole country to send up prayers to heaven for the protection of General Grant. “His great Lieutenant, Sedgwick, is no more. The heroic Wadsworth sleeps in death. Hays, Stevenson, Rice and Owens have fought their last fight. Many others of his staunchest Generals, scores upon scores of his Colonels, and hundreds of other invaluable officers, have been killed or put out of the field by wounds. How terrible the thought that some one of the million whizzing bullets may perchance strike the head or heart of General Grant. God save the Lieutenant General! God save the Lieutenant General!”

To this prayer, we say “Amen!” with all our heart. If Grant falls, some cautious Meade will take his place and prolong the war. Grant intends to “fight it out if it takes all the Summer.” That is precisely what we wish, and Grant’s method of fighting it out is exactly to our liking. We are tired of this war. Grant proposes to end it as quickly as possible. We pray he may be saved to accomplish his purpose.

MAY 30, 1864

The Campaign.

As we write there is no battle announced to be going on; but according to the best judgment the progress onward of Gant’s army is such that a battle is inevitable, and it promises to throw all other battles in the shade.

Lee’s position is between the North and South Anna Rivers; for the prediction of Secretary Stanton that “our army would reach the South Anna” at a certain time, and all the telegrams to the effect that the army had reached it, are simply incorrect. Grant has skillfully followed up Lee by a parallel line, and is quite dependent on the rebel General for his future. Hi intention is to follow him up and fight him; and he is supposed to have three times more troops at least than Lee. All the veteran troops around Washington are at the front, and the Western one-hundred day militia occupy their places. Lee’s force is rated at sixty-five thousand men in the prints, but military men rate them far lower. It is said, on all hands, now, that he is in a strong position. Grant has force enough to turn it wherever it may be; but we need not recapitulate the contents of the telegrams. Much is mere conjecture, and we have not authentic data on which to base legitimate reasoning. It is significant that Grant swung round his base, first to Belle Plain, then to Aquia Creek; and now the wounded and material are being removed from this position. Sheridan’s cavalry has been in the neighborhood of West Point, and the next base will be on the Rappahannock or York Rivers. It at West Point, then it will be on the old battle line.

Hanover Court House is a vital position for Lee; for its possession by Grant turns his position as effectually on the North Anna as his positions were turned on the Po. Hence, Lee will fight for them unless he means to retire into Richmond, and be besieged there, or move to the mountains and be followed there. The accounts now are coming to the point that Lee remains in his strong position. It is said a storm prevented an assault, and that a battle was looked for on Saturday. In the army–a letter reads–as late as Wednesday night–the feeling was that Lee would fall back on Richmond. “Whether he will fight a decisive battle first or not, the next thirty-six hours will determine.” The thirty-six hours have passed and the universal expectation is of battle.

The letters from the front describe the contest at length that took place when our army crossed the North Anna. It appears that the rebel position was judged to be strong at that point; and Secretary Stanton says our army was withdrawn to the north bank of this river on Thursday, and moved in the direction of Hanover town, on the Pamunkey. Lee’s forces occupy Hanover Court House. Startling intelligence may be looked for at any moment.

Anecdote of Gen. Sherman.—Beckwith, the Commissary in Sherman’s Staff, went into the General’s tent a few days since and accosted him thus: “General, we must make another contract for beef; we have not enough to last two months.” “Have you enough for two months?” inquired the General. “Yes, sir.” “Well, in less than two months the army will be in [hell] or in Atlanta–it if goes to the former place we shall need no beef; if to the latter, we shall find enough; so make no more contracts, Beckwith.”


All Sorts of Paragraphs.

Among the persons brought away from Fredericksburg on the evacuation of the place was a rebel citizen arrested for poisoning bread an offering it to our wounded soldiers.

The whole Pennsylvania oil region, which, in 1860, was supposed to amount to eleven hundred and sixty-five barrels per day from the seventy-four principal wells, or about 50,000,000 gallons in all, is now about 70,000,000 barrels, or 2,800,000,000 gallons.

The Richmond papers give a list of twenty-five men, all Italians but two, who “threw down their arms in the presence of the enemy at the fight on the Brooke Turnpike, and refused to fight in the cause of liberty and the Southern Confederacy.” They were placed under arrest and lodged in Castle Thunder.

We never recollect to have heard General Grant reported as a joker, but here is a very good joke (if true) ascribed to him during the late Wilderness battles: “In the third day’s fight of the recent engagements in Virginia, Gen. Grant turned to Gen. Meade and said: ‘Well, Meade, if they are going to make a Kilkenny cat affair of this, all I can say is, our cat has got the longest tail.’ ”1

In Chicago the other day, twenty men were drafted who had been dead for several years.

They tell of a desperate prize-fight in Detroit recently. On the last round, as the ground was slippery and snowy, one of the combatants (Tessot’s) foot slipped, and he came down upon his knees. The other (Cibloni) immediately caught him round the neck and choked him. Tessot, by a desperate effort, raised himself, and hurled Cibloni on his back, placing his knee upon Cibloni's breast, crushing it completely, and struck him five blows in the face, battering it to one bleeding, shapeless mass. Cibloni expired without a struggle or a groan. Tessot is now lying in a hopeless condition, having been given up by his physician.2

MAY 31,

The Campaign in Virginia.

A dispatch from Gen. Grant, dated Saturday at Hanovertown, states that the army has been successfully crossed over the Pamunkey river, and now occupies a point about three miles south of the river, and sixteen miles from Richmond. The withdrawal of the army from beyond North Anna was made Thursday night, and within thirty-six hours the army had marched over thirty miles, crossing two rivers in the face of the enemy, and transferring itself from a position directly in front of the rebel forces to a position far on their flank. South of the North Anna, Gen. Grant had between him and Richmond two considerable rivers and twenty-five miles of ground. South of the Pamunkey he is nine miles nearer the rebel capital, has avoided Little River and the South Anna, and, if he chooses to advance straight forward, has no stream but the upper waters of the Chickahominy to cross. Having cut loose from the bases on the upper Rappahannock at Fredericksburg and Port Royal, he resumes communication with Washington by way of the York River and the Pamunkey, and he is within twenty miles of White House on the latter river, a safe, near, and convenient depot wholly in his rear, and inaccessible to the enemy. When Gen. Grant first crossed the North Anna he selected a point considerably to the north of that where Lee expected him. His present movement is made at a point south-east of every position at which Lee was prepared to oppose him. In both instances the rebel commander was fairly out-generaled.

In his last successful flanking manœuvre the Tribune says Gen. Grant shows himself a master of one of the most difficult branches of military science–that of moving great bodies of troops with rapidity and precision. He handles this huge army as if it were a brigade. His last march is equally remarkable in another way–the crossing and the strategic use of rivers. Viewed as impediments to the movement of his army, Gen. Grant has utterly disregarded the North Anna and the Pamunkey, while at the same time he has made both of them serve as a complete protection to his own flank in marching past his enemy.

Whether Grant originally crossed the North Anna with a view to recrossing it is a question on which there is no answering evidence, nor is it material. What is evident is that, having arrived on its south bank, he found Lee in a position which he did not deem it advisable to attack, and which he has thereupon turned with consummate skill. Every point on Lee’s old lien of communication with Richmond which he was deemed likely to defend, every point which afforded obvious and peculiar advantages, is disposed of. The Virginia Central Railroad, the great North Anna line, the Junction, the South Anna line, and finally Hanover Court House, which was a position important in more than one respect, have been neutralized and put aside by this last masterly manœuvre. Grant is twenty miles southeast of his last position, nine miles nearer Richmond, counting by distance, and a month, measuring by time. The obstacles which he has surmounted by this one march may be reckoned equivalent to at least so much additional duration of the campaign.

Hanovertown offers an approach to Richmond by one turnpike as far as Shady Grove Church. At that point, seven miles from Richmond, the road divides and makes for the Chickahominy in two branches, so that a column may cross either the Meadow Ridge or the Mechanicsville–the latter being a trifle the more direct–or both bridges may be attempted. ->

But, since it is probable that lee will offer up no resistance to the advance of Gen. Grant except on the Chickahominy, the siege of Richmond may be deemed to have begun already, and the next gun that is fired in this memorable campaign will be heard within the defences of the rebel capital.


News from Rebeldom.
The Rebels Think Grant’s Strategy “Unsound.”

The Washington Star has the following:

A gentleman of an inquisitive turn of mind who has circulated to some extent in the rebel camps lately has returned to our lines, and reports among other things that the rebels have been expecting from day to day that Grant’s apparently reckless movement across Lee’s right would result in his placing him in the trap where Lee wanted him, but they admit that Grant’s rapidity of movement and good luck have enabled him to succeed in an “unsound” manœuvre.

Grant’s wrinkle of wholly severing his connection with his base of supplies and taking the chances of establishing another, they say is quite indefensible strategically–a piece of quixotical rashness, successful only in Grant’s case through the same streak of good luck which must come to an end, they hold, sooner or later. They believe that Grant will not test Lee’s position on the line of the South Anna and Pamunkey, but will strike down towards the York River Railroad, flanking Lee’s right and opening a new base at West Point.

This they claim will be virtually forcing Grant to return to McClellan’s line of advance on Richmond, but they admit that Grant, in reaching it, will have covered Washington and crippled Lee in men and supplies sufficiently to put it out of his power to carry out any invasion projects he might have undertaken during the four weeks or more time required to send the Army of the Potomac to the Peninsula by water.

Lee’s army is tolerably well supplied with provisions, but it is a supply eked out day by day by great exertion on the part of the rebel commissariat. There was danger of a bread riot in Richmond from the fact that almost all produce seeking Richmond as a market has, by military order, been diverted to Lee’s army.


The Russians.–After leaving the City Hall yesterday afternoon, Admiral Lessoffsky and the other officers of the Russian Fleet proceeded to the Navy Yard, from whence they returned to their vessels.

To-day they are to visit the Athenæum, the Public Library, Spencer’s Rifle Factory and the City Hospital.

On Wednesday they will go to Lawrence and visit the mills and other points of interest there; on Thursday they will visit the Public Schools; on Friday, Harvard College and the suburbs; on Saturday, the Navy Yard; and on Monday of next week, the Harbor and Public Institutions.

A formal dinner will be tendered them at the Revere House on Tuesday, and on Wednesday they are to be entertained with a musical festival in Music Hall, in which the children of the Public Schools will participate.

JUNE 1, 1864


a fight on monday.
The Enemy Easily Repulsed.

War Department,
May 31, 1864.

To Major-General Dix: A dispatch from Gen. Grant, dated 6 o’clock this a.m., at Hawes’ Shop, has just been received. It is as follows:

The enemy came over on our left last evening and attacked. They were repulsed easily and with considerable slaughter. To relieve Gen. Warren, who was on the left, speedily, Gen. Meade ordered an attack by the balance of our lines. Gen. Hancock was the only one who received the order in time to make the attack before dark. He drove the enemy from his entrenchments and skirmish lines and still holds it. I have no report of our losses, but suppose them to be light.

Other official dispatches from Gen. Grant were received at the same time and give more details. They were dated yesterday at 8 p.m. In the course of the afternoon Warren had pursued down on our left until the flank division under Crawford reached a point abreast of Shady Grove Church. Crawford having got detached from the rest of the corps, was attacked and crowded back a little. The enemy then threw a force which appears to have consisted of Ewell’s corps upon Warren’s left, attempting to turn it, but was repulsed. The engagement was short, sharp and decisive. Warren holds his ground at the distance of seven miles from Richmond. He reports that he has captured a considerable number of prisoners and that there are many rebel dead on the field. Of his own losses he has not yet made a report.

His latest dispatch says the enemy are moving troops to his left, apparently to cover the approach to Richmond in that direction, on our right. An active conflict has been raging here since dark, but has just closed. As soon as the enemy attacked the left of Warren, Wright and Hancock were ordered to pitch in, but do not seem to have got ready until after nightfall. No report has yet been received from them.

The other dispatch above referred to is dated at 6 o’clock this morning, and states that in Hancock’s attack last night, Col. Brooks drove the enemy out of a strongly entrenched skirmish line and holds it. The losses are not reported.

Burnside’s whole corps got across Tatapotomay Creek last evening, and is in full connection with Warren’s. The left of Hancock’s rest upon this side of the creek. The 6th corps is upon Hancock’s right, and threatening the left flank of the enemy. Smith ought to arrive at New Castle by noon, whence he can support Warren and Burnside, if necessary.

Sheridan, with Gregg’s and Torbit’s divisions of cavalry is on our left flank. Wilson is on the right and rear for purposes reported in a former dispatch.

The country thereabouts is thickly wooded with pines, with few good openings. The indications this morning are that the enemy has fallen back south of the Chickahominy. Nothing of later date has been received by this department.

Edwin M. Stanton,
Secretary of War.

The French Rams–National Securities.

Washington, May 31.–Recent publications in French newspapers have lately renewed the apprehensions of the government of the United States, that the interdiction heretofore laid by the Emperor of the French upon the iron-clads and clipper ships, which were being built at Nantes and Bordeaux under contract for the rebels, and for their use, was about to be removed. It was authoritatively announced in Bordeaux that one of the iron-clads would be finished on the 15th of June, and the other on the 16th of July. Mr. Dayton was instructed to ask explanations of the French government. A dispatch in reply was received from Mr. Dayton yesterday, in which he says that on eh 15th inst., Druyn De Huys informed him that two iron-clads, now being constructed by Armand at Bordeaux, under contract with the confederates had been positively sold to a neutral power. The language of Druyn De Huys was explicit, and the U. S. government is understood to have expressed its satisfaction with this disposition of an embarrassing subject, which threatened to disturb the friendly relations of the two countries.


A Bit of Romance.—A woman passed through this city on Wednesday, en route to New York, who during the past three years has passed through many exciting scenes. In the early part of the war, she, with her husband and two or three children, were residing in a border State, where secessionism was rampant, and during the absence of eh parents one day the children were all massacred by some of the chivalry. The wife immediately assume male attire, enlisted in the same company with her husband, and fought side by side with him in nearly all of the battles participated in by the Army of the Cumberland. A few months since her husband received a fatal bullet while fighting by her side, and the wife, too, was subsequently wounded, and taken to the hospital, where her sex was discovered.

Those who conversed with her say that her manners fully confirm her story. She has acquired many disgusting habits of the sterner sex during her campaigning, such as the use of tobacco, profanity, &c. But her patriotism is undoubted, and she has suffered a great deal in the Union cause, for all of which she is entitled to the sympathy and gratitude of freedom loving people. She is very bitter in her denunciations of the rebels, as she has good reasons to be.–Providence Press.


The House Naval Committee has agreed to a bill providing that the Secretary of the Navy shall appoint an engineer to designate and survey lands upon the Thames river, Conn., for a navy yard and naval depot for the construction and repair of iron-clads, &c., the city of New London to give the  land necessary therefor.


Escape of Admiral Porter’s Fleet.

Lt. Col. Bailey Master Engineer.

Mississippi Squadron, Flagship Black Hawk,
Mouth Red River,
May 16, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that the vessels lately caught by low water above the falls at Alexandria have been released from their unpleasant position. The water had fallen so low that I had no hope or expectation of getting the vessels out this season, and as the army had made arrangements to evacuate the country I saw nothing before me but the destruction of the best part of the Mississippi Squadron.

Lieut. Col. Bailey’s Proposition.

There seems to have been an especial Providence looking out for us, in providing a man equal to the emergency. Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Bailey: acting engineer of the Nineteenth Army Corps, proposed a plan of building a series of dams across the rocks at the falls and raising the water high enough to let the vessels pass over. This proposition looked like madness, and the best engineers ridiculed it, but Colonel Bailey was so sanguine of success that I requested General Banks to have it done, and he entered heartily in the work. Provisions were short and forage was almost out, and the dam was promised to be finished in 10 days or the army would have to leave us.

I was doubtful about the time, but had no doubt about the ultimate success if time would only permit. General Banks placed at the disposal of Colonel Bailey all the force he required, consisting of some 3,000 men and 200 or 300 wagons. All the neighboring steam mills were torn down for material, two or three regiments of Maine men were set to work felling trees and, on the second day after my arrival in Alexandria, from Grand Ecore, the work had fairly begun.

Trees were falling with great rapidity, teams were moving in all directions bringing in brick and stone, quarries were opened, flatboats were built, to bring stone down from above, and every man seemed to be working with a vigor I have seldom seen equaled, while, perhaps, not one in fifty believed in the success of the undertaking. These falls are about a mile in length, filled with rugged rocks, over which at the present stage of water it seemed to be impossible to make a channel.

A Wonderful Work–The Tree Dam.

The work was commenced by running out from the left bank of the river a tree dam, made of the bodies of very large trees, brush, brick, and stone, cross tied with other heavy timber, and strengthened in every way which ingenuity could devise. This was run out about 300 feet into the river, four large coal barges were then filled with brick and sunk at the end of it. From the right bank of the river, cribs filled with stone were built out to meet the barges, all of which was successfully accomplished, notwithstanding there was a current running of 9 miles an hour, which threatened to sweep everything before it.

It will take too much time to enter into the details of this truly wonderful work: suffice it to say that the dam had nearly reached completion in eight days' working time, and the water had risen sufficiently on the upper falls to allow the Fort Hindman, Osage, and Neosho to get down and be ready to pass the dam. In another day it would have been high enough to enable all the other vessels to pass the upper falls. Unfortunately, on the morning of the 9th instant, the pressure of water became so great that it swept away two of the stone barges, which swung in below the dam on one side. Seeing this unfortunate accident I jumped on a horse and rode up to where the upper vessels were anchored, and ordered the Lexington to pass the upper falls if possible, and immediately attempt to go through the dam. I thought I might be able to save the four vessels below, not knowing whether the persons employed on the work would ever have the heart to renew their enterprise.

A Part of the Fleet Gets Over the Falls.

The Lexington succeeded in getting over the upper falls just in time, the water rapidly falling as she was passing over. She then steered directly for the opening in the dam, through which the water was rushing so furiously that it seemed as If nothing but destruction awaited her. Thousands of beating hearts looked on anxious for the result.

The silence was so great as the Lexington approached the dam that a pin might almost be heard to fall. She entered the gap with a full head of steam on, pitched down the roaring torrent, made two or three spasmodic rolls, hung for a moment on the rocks below, was then swept into deep water by the current and rounded to, safely into the bank.

Thirty thousand voices rose in one deafening cheer, and universal joy seemed to pervade the face of every man present. The Neosho followed next, all her hatches battened down and every precaution taken against accident. She did not fare as well as the Lexington, her pilot having become frightened as he approached the abyss, and stopped her engine, when I particularly ordered a full head of steam to be carried; the result was that for a moment her hull disappeared from sight under the water. Every one thought she was lost. She rose, however, swept along over the rocks with the current, and fortunately escaped with only one hole in her bottom, which was stopped in the course of an hour. The Hindman and Osage both came through beautifully without touching a thing, and I thought if I was only fortunate enough to get my large vessels as well over the falls, my fleet once more would do good service on the Mississippi.

Col. Bailey Un-disheartened.

The accident to the dam, instead of disheartening Colonel Bailey, only induced him to renew his exertions, after he had seen the success of getting four vessels through. The noble-hearted soldiers, seeing their labor of the last eight days swept away in a moment, cheerfully went to work to repair damages, being confident now that all the gunboats would be finally brought over. These men had been working for eight days and nights up to their necks in water in the broiling sun, cutting trees and wheeling bricks, and nothing but good humor prevailed amongst them. On the whole, it was very fortunate the dam was carried away, as the two barges that were swept away from the center, swung around against some rocks on the left and made a fine cushion for the vessels, and prevented them, as it afterwards appeared, from running on certain destruction.

The force of the water and the current being top great to construct a continuous dam of 600 feet across the river in so short a time, Colonel Bailey determined to leave a gap of 55 feet in the dam and build a series of wing dams on the upper falls. This was accomplished in three days' time, and on the 11th instant the Mound City, Carondelet, and Pittsburg came over the upper falls, a good deal of labor having been expended in hauling them through, the channel being very crooked, scarcely wide enough for them. Next day the Ozark, Louisville, Chillicothe, and two tugs also succeeded in crossing the upper falls.

Passage of the Fleet–A Beautiful Sight.

Immediately afterwards the Mound City, Carondelet, and Pittsburg started in succession to pass the dam, all their hatches battened down and every precaution taken to prevent accident. The passage of these vessels was a most beautiful sight, only to be realized when seen. They passed over without an accident except the unshipping of one or two rudders. This was witnessed by all the troops, and the vessels were heartily cheered when they passed over. Next morning at 10 o'clock the Louisville, Chillicothe, Ozark, and two tugs passed over without any accident, except the loss of a man who was swept off the deck of one of the tugs. By 3 o'clock that afternoon the vessels were all coaled, ammunition replaced, and all steamed down the river, with the convoy of transports in company. A good deal of difficulty was anticipated in getting over the bars in lower Red River, depth of water reported only 5 feet, gunboats were drawing 6. Providentially we had a rise from the backwater of the Mississippi, that river being very high at that time, the backwater extending to Alexandria, 150 miles distant, enabling us to pass all the bars and obstructions with safety.

Words are inadequate to express the admiration I feel for the abilities of Lieutenant-Colonel Bailey. This is without doubt the best engineering feat ever performed. Under the best circumstances a private company would not have completed this work under one year, and to an ordinary mind the whole thing would have appeared an litter impossibility. ->

Leaving out his abilities as an engineer, the credit he has conferred upon the country, he has saved to the Union a valuable fleet, worth nearly $2,000,000; more, he has deprived the enemy of a triumph which would have emboldened them to carry on this war a year or two longer, for the intended departure of the army was a fixed fact, and there was nothing left for me to do in case that event occurred but destroy every part of the vessels, so that the rebels could make nothing of them. The highest honors the Government can bestow on Colonel Bailey can never repay him for the service he has rendered the country.

To Gen. Banks personally I am much indebted for the happy manner in which he has forwarded this enterprise, giving it his whole attention night and day, scarcely sleeping while the work was going on, tending personally to see that all the requirements of Colonel Bailey were complied with on the instant.

I do not believe there ever was a case where such difficulties were overcome in such a short space of time and without any preparation.

I beg leave to mention the names of some of the persons engaged on this work, as I think that credit should be given to every man employed on it. I am unable to give the names of all, but sincerely trust that Gen. Banks will do full justice to every officer engaged in this undertaking when he makes his report. I only regret that time did not enable me to get the names of all concerned.

The following are the names of the most prominent persons:

Lieut.-Col. Bailey, acting military engineer, 19th Army Corps, in charge of the work; Lieut.-Col. [U. B.] Pearsall, assistant; Col. C. C. Dwight, acting assistant inspector-general; Lieut.-Col. W. B. Kinsey, 16th New York Volunteers; Lieut.-Col. Hubbard, 30th Maine Volunteers; Major Sautelle, provost-marshal, and Lieut. John J. Williamson, ordnance officer.

The following were a portion of the regiments employed: 29th Maine, commanded by Lieut.-Col. Emerson; 116th New York, commanded by Col. George M. Love; 161st New York, commanded by Capt. Prentice; 133rd New York, commanded by Col. Currie.

The engineer regiment and officers of the 13th Army Corps were also employed.

I feel that I have done but feeble justice to the work or the persons engaged in it. Being severely indisposed, I feel myself unable to go into further details. I trust some future historian will treat this matter as it deserves to be treated, because it is a subject in which the whole country should feel an interest, and the noble men who succeeded so admirably in this arduous task should not lose one atom of credit so justly due them.

The Mississippi Squadron will never forget the obligation it is under to Lieutenant-Colonel Bailey, acting military engineer of the 19th Army Corps.

Previous to passing the vessels over the falls I had nearly all the guns, ammunition, provisions, chain cables, anchors, and everything that could affect their draft taken out of them.

The commanders were indefatigable in their exertions to accomplish the object before them, and a happier set of men were never seen than when their vessels were once more in fighting trim.

If this expedition has not been so successful as the country hoped for, it has exhibited the indomitable spirit of Eastern and Western men to overcome obstacles deemed by most people insurmountable. It has presented a new feature in the war, nothing like which has ever been accomplished before.

Loss of the gunboats Signal and Covington.

I regret to inform you, amongst the misfortunes of this expedition, of the loss of two small light-draft gunboats, the Signal and Covington. I sent them down from Alexandria to convoy a quartermaster's boat, the Warner, loaded with cotton and some 400 troops on board, not knowing that the enemy had any artillery on the river below us or anything more than wandering gangs of guerrillas armed with muskets, which these vessels were competent to drive off.

It appears, however, that the rebels were enabled to pass our advance force at night with 6,000 men and some 25 pieces of artillery. With these they established a series of batteries at a place called Dunn's Bayou, 30 miles below Alexandria, a very commanding position. These batteries were so masked that they could not be seen in passing, even by the closest observation.

The first notice the vessels received of the battery was a furious fire which opened on the quartermaster's boat, the Warner, piercing her boilers and completely disabling her. At the same time 6,000 infantry opened with musketry, killing and wounding half the soldiers on this vessel. She drifted into the opposite bank, where a number managed to make their escape in the bushes, though many were killed in attempting to do so.

The Signal and Covington immediately rounded to and opened their guns on the batteries and pushed up, endeavoring to rescue the Warner from her perilous position. They had, however, as much as they could do to take care of themselves, the cross fire of the three batteries cutting them up in a terrible manner. Their steam pipes were soon cut and their boilers perforated with shot, notwithstanding which they fought the batteries for five long hours, the vessels being cut all to prates and many killed and wounded on board. Acting Volunteer Lieut. George P. Lord, commanding the Covington, having expended all his shot, spiked his guns, set fire to his vessel, and escaped with what was left of his crew to the shore, and his vessel blew up.

The Signal, Acting Volunteer Lieut. Edward Morgan, still fought her guns for half an hour after the destruction of the Covington. He found it impossible to destroy his vessel by burning, her decks being covered with wounded, and humanity forbade him sacrificing the lives of the noble fellows who had defended their vessel so gallantly.

He gave permission to all those who wished to escape to do so. Some of them attempted to get off by climbing up the bank; many were killed while doing so by the murderous fire of musketry poured in from the opposite side.

The captain remained by the vessel and was captured, if he remained alive, but I have no information regarding him. The rebels took the guns off of her and, placing her across the channel as an obstruction, sunk her.

General Banks, on hearing the news, sent out cavalry to hunt for the unfortunate men, many of whom were picked up and brought into Alexandria. A number escaped down river and went aboard some light-draft gunboats that were coming up at the time to the scene of action, but were driven back by the superior artillery of the enemy.

I feel very much for the poor fellows who fell into the rebels' hands, as the latter have been very merciless to some of the prisoners they have taken, and committed outrages at which humanity shudders.

The vessels will all return to their stations in a few days, as there is no prospect under present circumstances of renewing operations in this part of Louisiana, the season having passed for operating with any chance of success.

I am sorry to see that the rebel guerrillas have become quite troublesome on the Mississippi since I left, all of which will be rectified within the coming week.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant.

 David D. Porter,

Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C. 

3, 1864

Who Cares for the Wounded Soldier?

The value of the Christian and Sanitary Commissions for our wounded soldiers can not be over-estimated. Without these associations the sufferings and deaths of our wounded after the recent battles would have been augmented ten fold. Mr. Wilkeson of the N. Y. Tribune, a man who has seen and written much about this war, was at Fredericksburg when the wounded men were brought there, and after speaking of the neglect of somebody, to make any preparation for the army of wounded patriots–not even food to eat or straw to lie on, to say nothing of medical stores and attendance–he asks the following pertinent question:

“What is all this? Shall it be baptized the inevitable accident of war, and let to slide into the unremembered? I have done more than my share of warfare upon official persons, and have grown weary. If I were not weary of strife I would search for one of those pens whose strokes draw blood and empty offices, and so help me God! I would never let up on the officials responsible for the criminal want of preparation at Fredericksburg for the wounded from Grant’s battles in the Wilderness, until they were out of place forever, and forever under the feet of the vengeful friends and relatives of this army of neglected sufferers.”

In the same letter he pays tribute to the Commissions:

“Weary looking men bore through the crowd some desperately wounded-bore them somewhere. The men of the Sanitary and Christian Commissions followed them. All honor to these organizations! The nation owes them an eternal debt of gratitude. I am a witness to testify that for four days a considerable portion of this army of injured soldiers would have starved, and gone without succor or care, if it had not been for the resources and devotion of these organizations.

“But Slavery, the cause of all of these woes! Friends of the wounded in Fredericksburg from the battles of the Wilderness! Friends and relatives of the soldiers of Grant’s army beyond the Wilderness, let us all join hands, and swear upon our country’s altar that we will never cease this war until African Slavery in the United States is dead forever and forever buried!”


The Loss in the Vermont Brigade.
It Loses Over One-half its Number in the Virginia Campaign.

Official information has been received by the Adjutant and Inspector General, that the Vermont Brigade crossed the Rapidan with an aggregate effective strength of about 2800 men, and that the aggregate loss of the brigade, between that time and the 24th of May, was 1650.


Gen. Sigel’s Repulse.—We have one more victim of “superior forces” to add to the long list that already adorns our military annals. Gen. Sigel on Sunday last “fought the forces of Echols and Imboden under Breckinridge, at New Market,” and in consequence of the enemy’s forces being superior in number, “he gradually withdrew from the battle field, having lost five pieces of artillery and six hundred killed and wounded.” Translated into similar English, this means that he was well beaten, though not routed. One does need to be a professional soldier to arrive at the conclusion, from what has happened in the course of this war, that fighting “superior forces” of the enemy is a losing business. Some of our generals are constantly doing it, and whenever they do it they are defeated. It seems to us, that this ought to settle the question of its impropriety.–N. Y. Times.

The Blunders on the James.

The Springfield Republican is severe upon Gen. Butler, but says some good things about military science and military men in the following:

“It was not just to the competent and experienced generals, Smith and Gilmore, to place them under Gen. Butler in the movement up the south side of the James river. It was also wrong as exposing the movement to defeat and disaster, for it was evidently one requiring the best military talent and experience in its management. Gen. Butler has never proved that he had either, and in everything else he is a charlatan. It is to be presumed that the government now sees its error and regrets that it did not entrust the movement to the charge of Gen. W. F. Smith, according to what was understood to be Gen. Grant’s first choice. If the army on the James is expected to do anything more than defend itself at Bermuda Hundred, by the aid of the gunboats, the presumption is that orders have already gone forward placing Gen. Smith in command, and ordering Gen. Butler back to Norfolk to sub and mulct the secesh, a work for which he has undoubted genius. With this termination of his military career, all our volunteer major generals disappear from the scene. Their history has been disastrous and humiliating, but instructive. Ignorance of military science will never more be held a positive qualification for command of an army; nor will men be sought for military leaders on account of their political influence. So we will rid of another hallucination, and it will not be strange if we swing over to the opposite extreme and henceforth come to think that nobody but a successful soldier will answer for any position, civil or military.”


Congressmen at their Old Tricks.

A copperhead member of Congress named Voorhees, of Indiana, made a bully Brooks assault on Senator Chandler of Michigan, which is described by a correspondent of the N. Y. Times:

“In the public dining hall of the National Hotel, Chandler, with Dr. Clark of Detroit, and a lady with two children, were taking dinner at a side table. In the course of conversation on political matters, he denounced in very strong terms Copperheads in general, and especially those of the Western States. Voorhees of Indiana, who was sitting at another table behind them, in company with Hannigan, also of Indiana, arose from his seat, approached Chandler in an excited manner, demanding whether he referred to him, to which Chandler replied, Who are you, sir; I don’t know you?’ at the same time rising from his chair. Voorhees replied, ‘I am Voorhees of Indiana,’ and suiting his action to the word, struck Chandler on the side of his face. The two then closed, and the Senator was rapidly getting the better of Voorhees, when Hannigan came to the latter’s assistance with a heavy milk pitcher, snatched from the table, which he broke on Chandler’s head. The contents of the pitcher splashed over the whole company. Chandler was stunned by the blow, and had not fully recovered himself, when Hannigan dealt him a second blow, with a chair. At this juncture parties present interfered, and the belligerents were separated. Chandler’s head was slightly cut by the pitcher, and his shoulder and arm were considerably bruised by the chair.”

JUNE 4, 1864


Singular Case of Desertion.–A Rhode Island paper says that a man has been apprehended in that State as a deserter. He came home from Cuba purposely to enlist; joined one of the batteries; was sent to do garrison duty in North Carolina; thought his duty too slow; said he had enlisted for the sake of fighting and must fight; deserted and joined a New York infantry regiment; was sent into the Gulf Department; fought in sixteen battles; was wounded, furloughed, and came home to be arrested as a deserter. It is hoped that the charge against such a brave fellow will not be very hard pressed.–Boston Journal.


The atmospheric effect of great battles is now attracting the attention of scientific circles. The theory sought to be established by numerous facts is understood to be that a heavy fall of rain or snow uniformly follows a great battle in modern times, in consequence of the use of firearms; and especially if the battle was fought by the active discharge of heavy artillery. The theory however appears not to be a new one. Observations made during the furious conflicts in Europe in the time of the first Napoleon are said to have satisfied the French Academy of Science of the truth of some such proposition. And the theory is not supposed to differ much from that which was so well supported by the lectures of professor Espie at a later date. He indeed maintained that all great fires had a tendency to produce clouds from which rain would fall. But not that a general course of stormy weather would by that mean be caused over a long tract of country for a considerable length of time. The storms which he taught might thus be produced were perhaps rather of a local than of a general character. The air of a particular locality being rarified by great heat on the surface of the earth, would cause the thought up-moving columns of air to ascend and so form clouds which would finally descend in rain upon that locality. But doubts have been entertained of the truth of these theories, though observations made during our present unhappy war may seem to confirm one or the other of them. The first Bull Run conflict is said to have been followed by some such storm as the supporters of eh French idea would consider an effect of battle. And after the battle of Fredericksburg, the Rapidan is said to have become so swollen by heavy rains as to render the situation of our army, while waiting to cross that river, extremely critical. The latest instance stated is that of the severe storms of hail and rain which followed the recent battles in Virginia, and which produced so muddy a condition of the roads as to delay the intended operations of Gen. Grant a number of days.


Circassia is blotted from the map. The contest between the gallant race, which has fought so long and so fiercely against the Russians, has ended in the capitulation of Vradar, their last stronghold. The people are now seeking an asylum in Turkey. They arrive in a state of the greatest destitution. The Sultan has given $250,000 from his private purse for their relief.

Many appear to be of opinion that the war is making better progress under a system of concentration of forces than it had done before, when our forces were employed so much at different points and at such a great distance from each other. This may have been owing to several causes, one of which may have been the greater simplicity of operation when attention is directed to a single point, or at least not divided among too many objects to be fully grasped at the same time. And some may think a like advantage would be gained if a system of more concentration of effort should be adopted in the business of legislating for a great country in the present situation of our American States. More simplicity of purpose would seem to such minds to be necessary in Congress, in order to proceed in the performance of the duties of that branch of the government with greater advantage. But it was not strange that the distraction which seems to be so general in the world at this unfortunate period should be felt to a greater or lesser degree even where it would otherwise be the least expected. This Congress should not be required to do everything which ought perhaps at some time or other to be done. The Federal Constitution may need some amendments at a proper time, but the present may be the farthest possible from being such a time. Too great a difference of opinion may still exist in relation to the amendments to be made, and to the time when  such a proceeding should be attempted, to furnish any ground of hope that the harmony of the whole country would by such means be at present promoted. Whenever the Federal or State Constitutions are changed for any good purpose, as they may be, a great majority of those who are to be affected by the change should be satisfied that improvements only are made in such instruments; and that the governments have not been by that means unjustly or unfairly abolished. And it therefore will be regarded as a favorable circumstance perhaps by many, that the question for amending the Federal Constitution is not likely to prevail by the requisite majority at this session.


Removal of Torpedoes.–The removal of torpedoes from Rappahannock river was effected very neatly. Our forces arrested a portion of the secesh on the banks of that stream, and inquired of them as to the position of the torpedoes. The latter expressed entire ignorance of the whereabouts of the obstructions, when our men, remarking that they must be found, placed the rebels in a scow and, sending them ahead, the torpedoes were at once pointed out and removed.

1 Reference to the Irish fable of the Kilkenny cats: “There once were two cats of Kilkenny, / Each thought there was one cat too many, / So they fought and they fit, / And they scratched and they bit, / Till, excepting their nails / And the tips of their tails, / Instead of two cats, there weren't any.” Grant means that, if Lee wants to fight a battle of attrition, there are more Yankees available than rebels, (i.e., the Yankees have a longer tail).

2 The fight had lasted nine hours and 56 rounds. Cibloni had, in previous matches, left nine of his opponents dead on the ground. [Source]

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