NOVEMBER 13, 1864

The New and Desperate Rebel Scheme.

It seems to be daily becoming more probable that the South will raise an army of slaves, and will try next campaign to do with 300,000 blacks what a million of whites have failed to do–establish the independence of the Confederacy. This will at once carry the war into a new phase, and present it to us in an entirely novel light.

If there were any further acknowledgement of the failure of the rebellion needed, it would be found in this. In putting 300,000 slaves under arms, the South says, in plain terms: “We rose for the preservation and perpetuation of slave society; we give that up; you have emancipated most of our slaves; we emancipate the rest ourselves. The end which we now propose to ourselves is simply and singly Southern independence.”

What the South is now fighting for, therefore, is the establishment of the Confederacy, not as a slave society, but as a free one; in other words, to detach half this continent from the jurisdiction of the United States Government, without reference to the form of political or social organization which is to exist on it afterward; and as its white population has been too much weakened to effect this object, it proposes to accomplish it by the aid of an army of Negroes, dragged against their will from the plantation to the field of battle. To this complexion it has come at last.

What the North has now between it and peace is an army of Negro slaves, bought like cattle for service, and fighting under the lash. We think this news ought to send a thrill of joy through the whole country. After having done and dared so much, after having met and frustrated a most desperate attempt made by one of the most warlike races in the world to found a slave empire on our soil, we are hardly likely to lay down our arms now that the integrity of the Union is threatened by an army of purchased blacks. What the masters have tried in vain, the slaves shall certainly not accomplish. “We have despised Catalina’s sword; we shall certainly not quail before yours.” If there were any shrinking now, the dead who perished in the fiercest of the struggle would mock us from their graves.


“Defining” in our Public Schools.—A Cambridge (Mass.) correspondent of the Boston Leader is responsible for this reminiscence of the New Orleans Public Schools:

The advent of the Federal fleet under Farragut in April, ’62, caused quite an exodus from Crescentdom, and rather demoralized the public schools of the city, as many of the abler among the teachers were strongly impregnated with “secesh on the brain,” ad would not retain their positions under “vile Yankee” rule. Well, it followed that there were many vacancies in the schools, and, of course, hordes of applicants for them, and a Board of Examination to test their qualifications being found indispensable, one was organized. Among other questions in the printed form prepared, was:

“Define Ratiocination.”

“Define Eucharist.”

When the form which had been furnished to one blushing young damsel was returned, the Committee found the following definitions:

“The art of catching rats!”

“One who plays euchre!”

Solitary Mourner.—The Vicksburg Herald relates this touching incident of canine affection:

During the fight at Black River, on the 17th of May, 1863, a rebel was killed who was buried by his comrades on the western side of the river, near the breastworks which the rebels had thrown up to defend the crossing of the river. A dog, which is supposed to have belonged to the deceased, has ever since stood guard at the grave, refusing to be seduced from his faithful guardianship of the remains of his dead master or to be comforted for his loss. During the silent watches of the night his mournful howl could be distinctly heard, and though hundreds of our soldiers have endeavored to seduce him from his guardianship, he still remained faithful, and refused to leave the grave. Up to the hour when the post was evacuated by our troops, the dog could be heard howling over the grave of his deceased master. Repeated attempts to capture him had made him shy, and for several weeks previous to the abandonment of the post by our army, he could never be seen at the grave, though his melancholy howl at night could be distinctly heard, and his tracks seen at the grave. If not dead, we have no doubt he still watches, a solitary mourner, over the grave.


A Female Guerrilla.—The Louisville Journal, speaking of the operations of a guerrilla band, led by one Berry, formerly of John Morgan’s command, says:

One of the peculiarities of this band of cutthroats is the officer second in command, recognized by the men as Lieut. Flowers. The officer in question is a very young woman, and her right name is Sue Monday. She dresses in male attire, generally sporting a full Confederate uniform. Upon her head she wears a jaunty plumed hat, beneath which escapes a wealth of dark-brown hair, falling around and down her shoulders in luxuriant curls. She is possessed of a comely form, has a dark, piercing eye, is a bold rider and a daring leader. Prior to connecting herself with Berry’s gang of outlaws, she was associated with the band commanded by the notorious scoundrel, Capt. Alexander, who met his doom–a tragic death–a short time ago in Southern Kentucky.

Lieut. Flowers, or Sue Monday, is a practiced robber, and many ladies who have been so unfortunate as to meet her on the highway can testify with what sang froid she presents a pistol and commands, “Stand and deliver.” Her name is becoming widely known, and, to the ladies, it is always associated with horror. On Friday evening she robbed a young lady of Harrisonburg of her watch and chain. If the citizens had not so unceremoniously expelled the thieving band from the town, in all probability this she-devil; in pantaloons would have paid her respects to all the ladies of the place, and robbed them of their jewelry and valuables. She is a dangerous character, and, for the sake of the fair ladies of Kentucky, we sincerely hope that she may soon be captured and placed in a position that will prevent her from repeating her unladylike exploits.


A Raid by Rebel Women.—We are reliably informed that after the capture of Glasgow by Gen. Clark’s rebel forces, about five hundred women from the surrounding country entered the town and plundered a number of the dry goods stores. They helped themselves freely to hoop skirts, bonnets, shawls, ribbons, laces, &c., each one carrying off a load of plunder. These female guerrillas were as keen on the scent of calico and domestic as a hound after a fox. They laid in their winter supplies, and dry goods are consequently not much in demand in the country back of Glasgow. The rebel soldiers held the town while these squaws were engaged in their work of plunder, and made no effort to prevent it.–St. Louis Democrat, 2d.

NOVEMBER 14, 1864

When Peace Will Come.

We are glad to hear less talk of peace on the Confederate side, because we are convinced its only effect was to lower the tone of our people and to divert attention from that which is the sole business of the time–continued resistance to the enemy. We would not omit to employ any instrumentality calculated to strengthen the disposition to peace of the enemy; but the evil of so much discussion of the topic among ourselves is that its effects are felt only here, where the peace spirit does not need to be encouraged, and where it can only take the form of non-resistance and submission. It rests with the enemy, not with our people of their authorities, to terminate a struggle which, from the beginning to this hour, has been for the defence of the latter against the assaults of the former. President Davis, in his interview with Jacques and Gilmore, indicated the only way in which peace can come: “Withdraw your garrisons from our towns; withdraw your armies from our states; withdraw your squadrons from our ports; cease to burn our dwellings, to murder our people, to plunder our property, to steal our slaves, and war will have ceased between us. You shall be free to navigate our rivers and trade with our ports. If you do not do this, the blood which is shed in your attacks and in our defence–the blood of murdered prisoners and outraged women, as well as of soldiers slain in open battle–rests on your souls alone.” Such was the substance of the President’s reply to the pacific professions of his guests. In a war of conquest, peace is at the option of the aggressors; it can only be obtained by the assailed by submission.

The South will not and cannot abandon her independence; there will be peace only when the North ceases to attempt our subjugation, and this time will arrive all the sooner if we maintain a firm front, and continue to exhibit such evidences of union and resolution as leave no ground for the hope that we will ever succumb. It is the policy of the enemy to make it appear that we are becoming weak in means and faint in spirit, but as long as we meet the libel with forces in the field strong enough to check or beat back their hosts, it can make but little impression. Grant may say that we have robbed the cradle and the grave to man our breastworks; he is not in such a way as to make him glad enough to get back behind his own again. Sheridan may claim to have destroyed the Army of the Valley but the boast is proven to be a falsehood when his own army is beaten back five miles, and is saved from complete disaster only by the thoughtlessness and misconduct of our own men. Sherman may proclaim that the South is at his mercy, but the vaunt has few believers when he is seen hurrying back to his own rear, hundreds of miles, to save his communications. It is such arguments  as these that we reason most effectively with the enemy, refute the false statements of their leaders, and will sooner or later convince the entire people of the impossibility of our subjugation ad the hopelessness  of our submission. Our shortest road to peace, then, is to bend all our energies to war. Already the peace feeling is strong enough in the North. The display of proper vigor and determination on our part will make it dominant.

Can Such Things Be?—The Richmond correspondent of the Columbus Sun writes:

Much has been said about the licentiousness of Richmond, Va., but I never believed it until now. There is indubitable evidence that a so-called lady connected by marriage with a man of distinction, and who once moved in the highest circles, is now regularly engaged as a procuress for Congressmen, Quartermasters and men of wealth. Many stories are told of her arts to entrap ladies of a gay disposition into her den, and the magnificence of her entertainments is a subject of astonishment to all who are not in her secret.


It appears to the Dispatch that our Government has never comprehended, and does not even now comprehend, the spirit in which the Yankees are waging this war. They have proclaimed us rebels, and refuse to recognize any rights that we claim as belligerents. There is but one remedy left, and that is retaliation for any and every offence against our belligerent rights. It has come to that pitch at last, that we must pursue that policy or give up the contest altogether. The determination to place our slaves on the same footing with our soldiers captured in battle, if submitted to, is a settlement in their favor of the very question for which we are at war. Re-captured slaves are the property of their owners, and there is no power in the Government to withhold it. We rather regret that General Lee did not confine his letter to the simple question with which it concludes; that is, whether the exposure of our prisoners at Dutch Gap was made by the authority of Grant or not.

The exposure of the citizens of Alexandria upon the trains is a still more open and audacious denial of our belligerent rights. If submitted to, the consequences predicted by a contemporary must inevitably follow. Grant, when he chooses to  make his grand attack on our lines, will certainly place captured citizens of our own in front of his Negro advanced guards, and we shall be reduced to the alternative of surrendering without firing a gun or of shooting our own friends.


To-day, a Negro soldier can arrest and imprison a white veteran for hurrahing for his favorite general, George B. McClellan. It was only a few days ago that an instance of this kind occurred at a military post a few miles south of this. The white man must now stop and show his “pass” to the Negro when he desires to go to market or to his place of business.–Cairo Cor. Chicago Times.


Skulkers in South Carolina.—The Charleston Mercury says, “We learn on good authority that there are upwards of two thousand skulkers belonging to the Confederate army now in South Carolina. Other States are worse. 

NOVEMBER 15, 1864

Gen. Sherman’s Grand Movement.

The Philadelphia Bulletin publishes a letter from its correspondent with Sherman’s army, dated Rome, Nov. 1, in which he says” “This army is now quiet, and the men are being paid off, preliminary to a grand movement in a direction least to be expected. It would be improper to state our destination, but this much I may say: that it will not be a retrograde movement. Hood may raid on the Nashville and Chattanooga railroad to his heart’s content. It is now Sherman’s desire that he should do so, as we have an abundance of supplies and the route we will travel is rich in subsistence for man and beast, and Sherman will no doubt quarter largely upon the country. One wing of the army will keep Hood employed where he is now, while with the other Sherman will execute the movement contemplated.

“We cut loose to-morrow, evacuating this place and Atlanta, and turn our backs upon home and friends, expecting that six or eight weeks will elapse ere we will be able to hear from the North.”

In addition to the foregoing, we find in the Chicago Journal the following extract from a private letter:

Pulaski, Tenn., Nov. 4.–The 4th corps has reached this place from Chattanooga–coming by railroad from Athens, and marching from that place here, the rebels having torn up the track between the two places. The people here were much frightened before our arrival, expecting the occupation of the place by Hood. The rebels attacked our small force at Decatur, and were repulsed with a loss of about 1000 men.

“Rebel deserters report to us that Hood has been ordered to winter his army in Tennessee, or lose it. I think if we get a good chance at him he will lose it.

“It is rumored that Sherman is making for Mobile with his main army, and intends to destroy the crops as he goes.”

Gen. Sherman hints at what he may do in the following letter to the Western Sanitary Commission:

Gaylesville, Ala., Oct. 25, 1864.

James E. Yeatman, President, &c. Dear Sir: I thank you for  the prompt fulfillment of the request to send certain articles for our prisoners at Andersonville. Things have changed since, and I may go in person to deliver these articles to the prisoners. In the mean time I will hold them for that purpose. I can make no use of the money for their benefit, and beg you to use it in your noble charity.

With respect, yours, &c.,

Wm. T. Sherman.

A correspondent of the Cincinnati Gazette writes from Nashville, Nov. 7, as follows:

“It can do no harm now to say, that the great bulk of our army is hundreds of miles away from the main body of Hood’s; that no collision need be expected between the two; that while one is in the neighborhood of Johnsonville, on the west side of the Tennessee, the other is in the vicinity of Atlanta; that whatever may be the course of the Union forces, Hood is doubtless heading northward; that he did not wish to cross the Tennessee at Johnsonville in the first place, and could not now if he would; that he has not with him more than twenty-five thousand men; ->

that he will endeavor to carry the war into Kentucky, an possibly across the Ohio river; and that a new army has been organized here, under some of our ablest leaders, sufficient in strength to cope with the ragamuffin battalions of Hood, wherever they may be able to find them. As to what will be done by the main body of our old army, I shall not even venture to write a word. Doubtless, before the letter reaches you, you will learn by telegraph news which will astonish you.”


Naval Matters.—It is rumored in naval circles that Admiral Farragut is shortly to come North, and that the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, which was organized by him in February, 1862, will pass into the control of a new commander-in-chief, not as yet named. The gallant Admiral has been hard at work since the latter part of 1861, and has proved himself the greatest naval hero of the age, and under this incessant toil his health is beginning to feel the wearing strain of fatigue.

The picket boat No. 3, building at Bordentown, New Jersey, under the superintendence of Capt. C. S. Boggs, U.S.N., is being sheathed on her bottom with sheets of India-rubber instead of copper. The rubber used is somewhat like that used in the manufacture of combs, canes, &c., and if successful in its wear, will make a change in this part of vessels’ outfits. It is smoother than copper, and promises to be less likely to become foul with grass and barnacles. The process of putting it on is novel and interesting, each sheet being heated to a given temperature, and secured to the bottom while hot. It cools retaining its form, and is not easily removed, being fastened by nails or screws.


The Fenian Conspiracy.—John Maguire, the man in whose house in Toronto, Canada, a lot of pike heads were recently found, has been discharged from custody, there being no statute among the imperial or Canadian acts under which a man might be punished for having such weapons as pikes concealed on his premises. The government will retain possession of the weapons seized.


Rebel Finances.—For six dollars in gold you can buy in Richmond, according to the report of Mr. Trenholm, Davis’s “Secretary of the Treasury,” a Confederate bond for a hundred dollars, bearing six per cent interest. That is to say, if you give Mr. Davis six dollars in coin, he will give you one hundred dollars in promises; but, on the other hand, if you have no coin, but only Confederate currency, Mr. Davis will require one hundred and thirty-five dollars of this currency for a one hundred dollar bond.


Georgia Coming Back.—The Nashville Union states that Judge Wright of Georgia, formerly a member of the United States Congress, has passed through that city to Washington, to see what can be done towards bringing about a peace. The Georgia Legislature convenes in a few days, when efforts will be made to save the State by coming back into the Union.

NOVEMBER 16, 1864

Retaliation.—A correspondent of the New York Herald writing from Martinsburg, Nov. 8, says:

Officers just arrived from Winchester state that Mosby captured a lot of our men the other day, near Newtown, among whom was Captain Brewster, Commissary of the 3d cavalry division. After marching them by a circuitous route to a point near Winchester, and between that and Berryville, they were obliged to draw lots to determine their fate, as seven of them were to be hanged in retaliation for seven of Mosby’s gang who were hanged by Gen. Custer. Captain Brewster drew a blank, and was destined to go to Richmond. The seven were taken to a point between two Union dwellings, where three of them were hanged. One had escaped on the way by slipping the rope from his arms, falling flat in the mud, and allowing his captors to walk over him. Thinking it too much trouble to hang them all, the executing party determined to shoot the other three. They accordingly banged away at them, killing one and wounding a second, while the third escaped unhurt, and, being joined by the one that had escaped before, returned to Winchester. The executions took place just before day, and the Union residents of the vicinity found the bodies labelled, “Hanged by Mosby in retaliation for seven of his men hanged by Gen. Custer.” One of the men reported to have been put to death on this occasion was Sergeant Dodge of the 1st Vermont cavalry.


Another Trent Affair.—It is probable that the seizure of the Confederate ship Florida in the neutral port of Bahia, Brazil, will turn out to be like the case of the seizure of the Trent with Mason and Slidell on board. It will be remembered that our Government very promptly surrendered the latter vessel and released Mason and Slidell. The same course will probably be pursued in the case of the Florida. The N. Y. Times, Seward’s especial organ, in a lengthy article upon the subject, comes to the conclusion that the seizure of the Florida was clearly illegal, a breach of the law of nations, and unjustifiable, as Brazil, unlike England, has always acted kindly towards the United States; that the act was an assault upon her peace and dignity; that our conscience as a Christian nation cannot justify such an alleged transgression of principle and justice; and, finally, that “we owe Brazil such an apology and such satisfaction as she shall think necessary, and as the usage of nations shall think necessary, and as the usage of nations may prescribe; and we hope there will be no delay on our part in offering them.”


Some of the Tea Not Thrown Overboard.—After the tea was thrown overboard in Boston harbor, February 10th, 1774, one of the party engaged in that movement, Lot Cheever, whose direct descendants now reside in Salem, stopped at the house of Col. Abner Cheever in Saugus to change his disguise. Some of the tea then in his shoes was saved by an old lady of the family, and has from that time until now been carefully preserved. A lady of the highest respectability and a direct descendant of the Cheever here spoken of, has presented to the manager of the Salem Table at the Naval Fair at Boston a remaining portion of the tea, which will be offered for sale.–Boston Transcript.

The End.—Lincoln has re-elected himself in spite of the people. This is the plain fact. No one who has been among the people and in a condition to learn their real feelings can doubt that their hearts were for McClellan. The genuine patriotic enthusiasm was all for him. Thousands voted for Lincoln under over-powering influences–under the pressure of money, business or party influences, while their honest convictions of right and duty led them to desire the election of McClellan. And now that the Republicans have got a new lease of power, we shall see all their professions of devotion to the Union falsified. All that they have said in justification of Lincoln’s policy as designed to restore the Union will be ignored, and the end will be what the Abolition leaders have long labored for, a dissolution of the Union. The end of this war, if it comes under Lincoln’s Administration, will be a Disunion Peace.


Immense Destruction of Property.—As the details of the operations at Johnsonville, Tenn., are made public, the greater the disaster to the Union cause becomes apparent. Johnsonville is a military post, situated on the Northwestern Railroad and the Tennessee river, and it has been made a grand depot for Government supplies. Transports would ascend the Tennessee river as far as the post, and there discharge their freight to be transported to other points by railroad. Outside of Nashville it is the most important military point in Tennessee. To capture it the rebels have made a desperate effort, and have met with partial success. On Friday morning Forrest planted four batteries on the river, all bearing upon the town, at a range of about 600 yards. Soon after, the fight opened in earnest, and shot and shell flew thick and fast. Three gunboats engaged the batteries below the town, and one the guns above. In this engagement, the flagship Key West received twenty shots through her. The fight was kept up at intervals all day. In order to prevent the transports and gunboats from falling into the hands of the rebels, they were fired by our men and destroyed. Among the transports thus destroyed were the Venus, Arcola, Done No. 2, Aurora, Mountaineer, J. B. Ford, Goody Friends and Duke. Besides these and the gunboats, fifty barges laden with Government supplies were consumed by the fire.

The boats burned rapidly, and the flames were communicated to the immense stores of goods piled on the wharf, and then to the government warehouses. Col. May, of the steamer Arcola, to whom we are indebted for this information, estimates that at least five millions of army rations and an untold quantity of other supplies such as clothing, arms, equipments, &c., were destroyed. The loss, indeed, has been great. A Quartermaster, whose name we could not learn, was killed on board the Key West. The rebels shelled the town with great fury, and created a panic among the citizens and government employees. On Saturday evening, Col. Gallup reinforced Col. Thompson, commanding the post, with his command. The extensive workshops and large warehouse of the town are now one mass of ruins.–Louisville Journal, Nov. 8th.


Message of the Rebel President.

Mr. Davis goes with much particularity into the history of the present year’s campaigns. He shows by a detailed recital that, as a question of territorial loss and gain, the balance is largely in favor of the rebels. They have recovered considerable areas which we held at the beginning of the year, while our gains, territorially, have been next to nothing. But the loss or gain of territory is by no means the sole test of military success. A more decisive test is the relative exhaustion of the resources of the two belligerents. When the resources of either party are exhausted, that party is in the power of the other. It seems to us evident from Mr. Davis’s message, taken as a whole, that a heavier strain has been placed upon the resources of the rebels than upon those of the North, and that although they have gained largely in territory by the year’s operations, they have nevertheless been approaching exhaustion more rapidly than we have. The symptoms of their weakness appear, however, rather in the want of men than of pecuniary means. Mr. Davis calls for greater stringency in the conscription law, so that no man of the military age, not even physicians, not even miners (and the developing of the mining industry is one of the great wants of the South,) not even the engineers on the railroads shall be exempt. All, without exception, are to be drafted into the army, and then as many physicians, &c., as the government may deem needful are to be detailed for home duty. We are not yet reduced to this extremity, and we have a great resource in the stream of emigration which still sets toward our shores. The fact that the question of arming the Negroes has come to be so far entertained as to be deemed worthy of discussion, is perhaps an item of evidence to the same effect; although our government would be unwilling to admit that its adoption of a measure which the rebels only discuss, proves that the resources for raising white soldiers are exhausted on our side.

The cautious way in which Mr. Davis breaks the ice on the question of arming the Negroes indicates great difference of opinion upon it in the South. What he has ventured to say is vigorously opposed by a portion of the Richmond press. But the rebel President perceives that events tend in that direction, and he warily paves the way for the experiment. The sum of what he says is that the arming of the slaves is not yet necessary, but that should it become necessary, there is no reason why it should not be done. He likewise accepts the logical consequence of freedom to at least as many of the slaves as shall be so used. There seems to be some misconception at Washington and elsewhere, of the bearing of this part of Davis’s message, from a failure to perceive that he is humoring an adverse sentiment while aiming to change it. If he can reconcile the slaveholding class to the modest proposals in his message, he will have gained a principle from which all that he may hereafter want will follow. “Should the alternative,” he says, “ever be presented of subjugation or the employment of the slave as a soldier, there seems no reason to doubt what should then be our decision.” That is to say, the South will arm its Negroes when it has exhausted its whites. “Until our white population,” he says, shall prove insufficient for the armies we require and can afford to keep in the field, to employ as a soldier the Negro who has been merely trained to labor, and as a laborer, the white man accustomed from his youth to the use of firearms, would scarcely be deemed wise or advantageous by any.” This is simple good sense. Mr. Davis’s objection to the arming of the Negroes is that his resources in white men are not exhausted, and that the white man makes the better soldier.

Mr. Davis meets and answers the objection to arming the Negroes drawn from the fervid southern declamation against their use as soldiers by the Yankees. “A broad, moral distinction,” he says, “exists between the use of slaves as soldiers in the defense of our homes and the incitement of the same persons to insurrection against their masters. The one is justifiable if necessary, the other is iniquitous and unworthy of a civilized people; and such is the judgment of all writers on public law, as well as that expressed and insisted on by our enemies in all wars prior to that now waged against us.”

Another objection lies in the conflict between the resulting freedom of the Negro and the fact that the power of emancipation belongs to the state government. This is a ticklish point, which Mr. Davis flanks instead of engaging it in front. If the Negroes are armed, the necessity of freeing them is absolute; it is the indispensable means of securing their fidelity. If the Negroes are taken into the military service, he says, the relation of person must predominate over that of property; their zeal must be stimulated by the promise of liberty; and an arrangement must be made with the state governments to secure them a domicile as freemen. This policy, if adopted on any considerable scale, would lead to general emancipation. For the present, Mr. Davis proposes to impress only forty thousand slaves, not for a limited time, but in perpetuity, with a compensation to their owners. The confederate government, having thus acquired the right of property in these slaves, can emancipate them at its pleasure. It will use them not only as teamsters, but as pioneers and in engineer labor. Should this recommendation be adopted, he suggests that this limited number would be a valuable reserve in case of urgency; and that when it became necessary to arm them, their places could be supplied by others to go through the same preparatory training.

No person who attentively considers these arguments and suggestions can fail to perceive that they are preparatory to arming the Negroes as fast as the necessity shall become apparent. They show that Mr. Davis has studied the subject with care; that he perceives the difficulties, the possible necessity, and the logical consequences of arming a part of the slave population, and that what he now proposes is preparatory thereto. The chief obstacle lies in southern prejudice, and his mode of presenting the question is dexterous insertion of the entering wedge. Grant him all that he asks for here, and the rest follows of itself according to the measure of his necessities. Should he next year have a better un of military luck, the Negro experiment may advance no further. If compelled to arm the Negroes, he will, in tee ginning, arm as few as possible in order that if, by some turn of events, the war comes to an early termination, the institution of slavery may be so little shaken that it may be saved. But if southern independence cannot be achieved without its destruction, he is prepared for the sacrifice. The caution with which he approaches the subject shows that he is not yet in desperate straits.–N. Y. World.


NOVEMBER 18, 1864

The Capture of the Florida.
One of the Most Daring Naval Achievements on Record.

The news which we announce yesterday morning, that the arrival of the famous steamer Kearsarge at this port had brought the intelligence of the capture in Brazilian waters by the Union gunboat Wachusett of the notorious rebel cruiser Florida, sent a thrill of surprise and delight through the community, even in the midst of the excitement and anxiety of presidential election day. The joyful news spread over the city like wildfire, and was the universal subject of discussion and of mutual congratulation, until the interests of the congressional and national elections seemed almost to be forgotten in comparison. One of our reporters paid a visit to the Kearsarge during the day, ad by the kind courtesy of her officers, Paymaster J. A. Smith being especially obliging, was enabled to obtain a detailed account of the singular affair in the bay of Bahia, comprising all the particulars which are accessible to the public.

The confederate war-steamer Florida arrived at Bahia bay of San Salvador, Brazil October 5th, having captured and burned the barque Mondamon, from Rio, off Pernambuco, on the 28th of September. The United States steamer Wachusett, Capt. Napoleon Collins, had been lying several days in the port of Bahia, and the Florida at first anchored in the offing. The Brazilian admiral immediately sent her a message requesting her to come inside, which she did, anchoring in the midst of the Brazilian fleet, and close under the guns of the principal fort, which is located upon an island in the middle of the harbor.

Certain parties in Bahia, which is a commercial city of considerable importance with one of the best harbors in the world, being interested in American affairs, bestirred themselves to bring about an engagement between the Wachusett and  the Florida, firmly confident that the result of such an encounter would be another Union victory as complete as that won last summer in the British Channel. On the morning of the 6th of October they carried a challenge to Capt. Morris of the Florida, to move outside the limits of Brazilian jurisdiction and fight the Wachusett. The rebel commander declined to receive the missive which the Brazilian residents had prepared, on account of some informality in its address. During the afternoon of the same day a Hungarian citizen living in Bahia and sympathizing with our government in its struggle with rebellion, waited upon Capt. Morris, and endeavored to induce him to consent to an action between his ship and the Union gunboat, but without success. Captain Morris however stated that if he should happen to fall in with the Wachusett during a cruise, he should willingly engage in a contest with her, but that on no account would he consent to leave a safe harbor for the express purpose of having an engagement.

All efforts on the part of outside parties to bring on a naval battle in open water between the two vessels proving unavailing, Captain Collins promptly took into consideration the other means which suggested themselves for ridding the seas of the most dangerous enemy of our commerce. In the evening of the same day above mentioned, Thursday, October 6th, he called a council of his officers to debate the subject. An important element in the consideration was the fact that the convenient harbor of Bahia has three openings in to the Atlantic, by any one of which the Florida could make her escape whenever the darkness of the night favored her purpose, without the possibility of one Union vessel preventing it. It is stated that the council of officers were also possessed of information that the Florida had repeatedly seized and burned American ships within three miles of the coast of Brazil, in defiance of every law of neutrality, without the slightest objection of any sort being made by the Brazilian authorities. Taking into consideration all the facts in the case, the council advised, with but one dissenting voice among all the officers of the Wachusett, that the scheme proposed of seizing the rebel cruiser at her anchorage should be carried out. Capt. Collins immediately gave the orders for accomplishing the design agreed upon, saying that with the very deepest regret he felt that the conduct of the Brazilian government in permitting piracies within the shadow of its shores had made the step an imperatively necessary one. It may be remarked here that it was found, after the seizure of the Florida, that arrangements had been made for her escape from the harbor on the very next night, for a new career of depredation upon our shipping.

The preparations for the encounter were made with great celerity and complete secrecy, and at about three o’clock in the morning of Friday, October 7th, the cables were slipped, and the Wachusett bore down upon the rebel steamer under full head of steam. So little expectation was there of such a proceeding, that one-half the officers and crew of the Florida, seventy in number and including Captain Morris, were carousing on shore, and the remainder, having just returned from a similar absence, were in no condition to repel an assault. The Florida’s officer of the deck supposed the collision which he saw to be imminent to be merely accidental, and cried out, “You will run into us if you don’t look out.” The design of Captain Collins was simply to strike the Florida with full force amidships with full steam on, crush in her side, and send her at once to the bottom, beyond the possibility of causing further trouble to any one. The Wachusett, however, did not strike her adversary fairly, but hit her in the stern, carrying away the mizzen mast and main yard. The Florida was not seriously injured by the collision, but the broken spar fell across the awning over her hatchway in such a manner as to prevent her crew from getting on deck from below. ->

The recoil which followed the shock carried the Wachusett back several yards. In the confusion which ensued, several pistol shots were fired from both vessels, chiefly at random, and entirely without effect. Two of the guns of the Wachusett were also discharged, by accident, according to one report, and, as another version has it, by order of one of the Union lieutenants. The shots did not strike the Florida.

Captain Collins of the Wachusett immediately  thundered out a demand to the rebel craft, “Surrender, or I will blow you out of the water!” The lieutenant in charge of the Florida may be excused for considerable amazement, but still had presence of mind to reply, “Under the circumstances I surrender.” Without the delay of an instant dozens of gallant tars boarded the prize and made fast a hawser connecting her with their own vessel, and the Wachusett turned her course seaward, moving at the top of her speed and towing the Florida in her wake.

The fleet of Brazilian vessels, which entirely surrounded the little space of water on which the brief battle had been fought, was so situated that the two American steamers were obliged to pass under the stern of one of the largest in order to penetrate their line. The Wachusett was challenged, but did not deign a word of reply, and the Florida, when hailed and commanded to halt a moment after, replied that a pause was impossible as she was towed by the vessel in front. The Brazilians soon guessed the state of affairs and in another moment or two the heavy guns of the fort, under the vey muzzles of which the capture had been made, opened fire on the Wachusett as she disappeared in the morning darkness. Three shots were fired after her, all passing harmlessly far above her pennant, and striking the water beyond.

To the reader it seems that the above must have taken considerable time, but the testimony of a careful officer on the Wachusett, corroborated by the surgeon of the Florida, assures us that from the time the Wachusett first slipped her cable and steamed upon the rebel cruiser to the moment when the echoes of the last gun from the Brazilian fortress had died away, was only twenty minutes by the watch. Certainly no page of history can show a more daring achievement, or one executed with more brilliant rapidity or more complete success.

The Brazilian naval commander in Bahia harbor acted with all the promptness which could have been expected, and in a few moments the dawn of day disclosed two vessels of the Brazilian fleet doing their utmost to pursue and overhaul the Wachusett and her prize. They were a heavy sloop-of-war and a small armed steamer, neither of them any match in point of speed for the handiwork of New England mechanics, and soon gave up the chase as the Union and rebel steamers disappeared below the horizon.

Capt. Collins soon ordered the ships to heave to and examined his prize. He found that neither vessel was materially damaged by the collision, and that there had been no injury to limb from the confused firing which followed it. Twelve officers and forty-eight men of the Florida’s crew were captured, and all her stores, papers, records, etc., were found undisturbed in the cabin. The two vessels soon steamed for St. Thomas, arriving there on the 29th ult., and finding the Kearsarge already in port. It was intended to keep the matter at Bahia a secret at St. Thomas, but it was accidentally revealed by a seaman of the Wachusett to one of the crew of the Kearsarge, and some hints of it got wind in the town, causing great excitement there. The Florida remained outside the bay, while the Wachusett entered to obtain coal. . .

The crew of the Florida is composed of Englishmen, Irishmen, Germans, etc., and contains no citizens of rebel states. Among her officers, however, there are several southerners. Surgeon Charlton, who is now on board the Kearsarge, is a native of Georgia. He was before the war an officer in the United States navy, and was stationed for several years in Chelsea. He has many acquaintances in Boston. . . Surgeon Charlton expressed full confidence that his captivity will last for only a very limited period, believing that the whole affair will terminate as did the capture of Mason and Slidell three years ago. If the demands which he thinks will be made by the Brazilian government are regarded by our authorities, he looks for an endorsement of the claims by the governments of Great Britain, France and Spain, in such a manner as to compel compliance. The rebel officers profess a complete indifference as to the result of yesterday’s elections. They say that the north entirely mistakes the universal sentiment of the south, which they affirm will never consent on any terms to a restoration of the Union. They declare an unshaken confidence in the ultimate triumph of their cause, placing their reliance upon the intrinsic advantages in a military point of view, moving constantly on interior lines. They argue that volunteering is entirely at an end in the north, and that the conscription cannot be enforced here, while the rebel army is kept up to a fighting standard by steady recruiting, and has a reserve always on hand of three hundred thousand Negroes capable of efficient military service.

Surgeon Charlton estimates that the Florida has steamed over forty thousand miles since she left Brest, not having spent ten days in port in nine months. During her career she has captured about forty American vessels.

NOVEMBER 19, 1864


Appearance of the Lower Mississippi.
Towns and Cities Desolate.

Natchez, Oct. 25, 1864.

On the second day of our voyage, as we turned a bend in the river, the city of Memphis came into sight, and on landing there a strange sight presented itself to us. The city appeared like a tomb, every store closed, men running hither and thither, huge piles of merchandize laid out on the shore ready for immediate shipment, while two streets back from the river to the suburbs, every way and alley was barricaded with cotton bales, &c., &c. It was at once evident that a raid was in expectation, and numberless were the theories one heard at every corner. Prior to the war, Memphis was by far the chief business place on the Mississippi between St. Louis and New Orleans. The situation of the city is quite fine, and presents a striking appearance as seen from the river on approaching from either way, with its esplanade several hundred feet in width, sweeping along the bluff and crowded with warehouses. A charming public square, about two streets from the river, is a redeeming feature in the general appearance of the city. The grounds are somewhat contracted, but the taste displayed in laying them out, and the graceful Southern foliage, together with numberless tame squirrels, render the place attractive to the stranger and pleasant to the citizen. A marble monument to Old Hickory stands in the middle of the park, erected in 1859. Upon the northern face, the motto, “The Federal Union; it must be preserved,” appears. On the breaking out of the present rebellion, the conscience-stricken and narrow-minded conspirators sought to efface the sacred words, but their unsuccessful attempt stands as an enduring monument for all time against them.

On leaving Memphis we entered into a more dangerous territory, and each gunboat as we passed hailed us with, “Take care, firing below.” Touching at Helena and one or two landing places for wood, the encampment at the mouth of White River was soon reached, and at this point we met three steamers loaded with troops going up to the assistance of Memphis.

Our first guerrilla shot came upon us as follows: Soon after leaving White River, and near Gaines’ Landing, it being about 8 p.m., the band was furnishing music for those who chose to dance. Pop-pop-pop–some thought a fiddle string had snapped, but those initiated knew better, and a general scattering took place. It was at first thought it was only a scare, but it proved far otherwise when one soldier lying on the lower deck was brought into the cabin with a rifle ball still in his side, and another from the upper deck with a flesh wound. The former wound seemed to be mortal, and when we left the suffering man at Vicksburg, he was sinking fats. Lights were immediately put out, the bullet proof iron defence of the pilot put up, and though we were fired at several times during the night, once by a battery, no one else was injured. The ladies, and there were many on board, behaved in a noble manner, putting to shame some men who at the slightest sound immediately hugged the cabin floor.

The following afternoon we passed the mouth of the Yazoo, and ere long Vicksburg was seen in the distance. Having a few hours here, I took the opportunity to land and examine the city and fortifications. The city is elevated, the ground very uneven, and the place is far from being compactly built. At present the streets are in a filthy condition, and the general appearance of the whole city is offensive. Notwithstanding this, the city is crowded all the time. Vicksburg is without doubt perfectly impregnable, and can be reduced only by starvation. The fortification are within and without, and no force could take it by storm. The “caves” have for the most part been filled up, and the shells and bullets once so plenty, have now disappeared from the streets. I heard that it had been computed that over ten thousand shells were thrown into the city. Since the embargo on the cotton trade, Vicksburg, as well as all other trading places on the river, has been extremely dull for speculators. ->

A Northern merchant (you can best judge of his principles) informed me that last winter he sold eight thousand dollars’ worth of goods in Vicksburg, of which he knew one third went to the Confederacy. This is all ended at present, but hordes of speculators are here expecting the bars to be lifted every day. A speculator can get cotton by exchanging goods needed on the plantations, at about $100 or $200 a bale. I hear some who have cleared one hundred and sixty thousand dollars in four months of cotton speculation.

On the evening of the fifth day from Cairo the Ida reached Natchez, which is by far the most picturesque place on the river. The city proper is built on a bluff, two hundred feet above the surface of the river. The lower part of the land, where the heavy shipping business is done, is called Natchez under the Hill. The view of the Mississippi from the bluff is perhaps the finest anywhere upon the river. Immediately in front and extending for miles, the great cypress swamps of Louisiana are seen. To the right, left and in front (the latter owing to one of the numerous bends in the Mississippi,) the shining waters of the great river are seen, and directly below, anchored in the stream, are an iron-clad and a gunboat. Prior to the war, for many miles the snow white cotton fields could be seen from the bluff, but at present the traveller sees only a few scattered plants within sight of the river. All that is raised is inland and generally within the rebel lines. The city of Natchez has been disturbed as little as any Southern place. It is at present a military post, and under the command of Gen. Braymand. The Confederates seize their conscripts right up to the lines, which at present are kept well close. Two escaping Conscripts were shot outside the lines a few nights since, but such things are of almost daily occurrence.


The Decay of Conversation.—One reads with some surprise as well as great pleasure the brilliant conversations recorded by Boswell in the famous club where Dr. Johnson for many years reigned as a king. Literary men aimed then to be brilliant talkers, and their power in this line was wonderful. Chamber’s Journal laments that this faculty is so generally neglected in our day. It says, with much truth:

The ancient art of talking is falling into decay. It is an ascertainable fact that, in proportion to an increased amount of population, the aggregate bulk of conversation is lessening. People now a days have something else to do than talk; not only do they live in such a hurry that there is only leisure for just comparing ideas as to the weather, but they have each and all a gross quantity to do, which puts talking out of the question. If persons remain at home, they journey by rail, they read; if they go to the sea side, they read; we have met misguided individuals out in the open fields with books in hand; young folks have been seen stretched underneath trees, and upon the banks of rivers, poring over pages; on the tops of mountains, in the desert, or within forests–everywhere men now pull printed sheets from their pockets, and in their earliest, latest, highest occupations of life, they read. The fact is incontestably true, that modern men and women are reading themselves into a comparatively silent race. Reading is the great delusion of the present time, it has become a sort of lay piety; according to which the perusal of volumes reckons as good works; it is, in a word, the superstition of the nineteenth century.


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