FEBRUARY 12, 1865

A Nuisance to be Abated.

One of the most notable developments of this war has been the wonderful perspicacity of the correspondents of the public press, who have followed the field, lingered in the camp, and established the most intimate relations with all the generals, admirals, colonels, and majors in the army and navy. This has displayed itself in the remarkable clearness and conclusiveness with which these gentlemen have always been able to keep the country fully advised of the plans, instructions, and movements, past, present, and to come, of those who have had in their hands the conduct of eh war. What Gen. Grant says he intends doing, and when, and how, and where; what Gen. Sherman’s next movement is to be, and why; when Admiral Farragut is to attack another series of harbor fortifications; where Gen. Lee may be looked for next, and exactly by what route he designs inaugurating a new invasion of the North; what councils have been held between the Secretaries of War, North and South, and the commanders of departments; and, in short, the clearest possible view of the strategy and policy of every campaign–all seem to be as well known to these well posted chroniclers, as to those who are engaged in carrying in the work.

It has mattered little or nothing, from the beginning of the war, how often the event has proved that the army and navy correspondents of the press were but the merest guessers or inventors of what they assumed to write in such positive terms. Nothing has abashed them–no exposure of their utter unreliableness, and in some instances their adventurous mendacity, has in the least degree prevented them from the diligent  and systematic pursuit of their vocation, their maxims apparently being that “one tale is good until another is told,” and that “a lie will travel from Dan to Beersheba while Truth is putting on its boots.” A racy, spicy sensation letter, showing that the writer is ahead of his competitors in obtaining the earliest and most authentic intelligence, answers the present purpose of keeping up the excitement of the general reader, so apt to believe everything he sees in print, and procures for the correspondent an enviable reputation for enterprise, diligence, and the most familiar intercourse with the highest sources of authentic information.

It is a curious feature of this system that it assumes as a fact that which, upon a moment’s reflection, every sensible man must be aware is to the last degree absurdly impossible. And that is that a general in the field, at the head of his command, like Sherman, for example, noted for his reticence with regard to his own plans, should communicate to a scribbling camp follower, with the certainty of it appearing forthwith in print, information of what he proposes doing, and the when, and the how, and the why. Fancy Grant or Lee or Farragut, on the eve of an important expedition, calling around him these gentry and qualifying them to speak authoritatively of his movements, by revealing their detail to such an audience! ->

Of this class are the greater part of “our owns,” “our specials,” “our reliables” of the press, who give their own guesses for gospel, and their own surmises for sooth, with regard to what is transpiring in cabinet and in camp, in the council of war, and in the conduct of campaigns. It is these folks who keep the country in an incessant and unhealthy excitement, and who, in many cases, work mischief of a much more serious character, by their inopportune and, ordinarily, erroneous utterances. This is one of the inconveniences of that most valuable of the franchises of a free people–a free press. It is a gross abuse of an institution which, rightly used, is of inestimable benefit. And it is tolerated to the extent it is by those who see how it is abused, and who keenly feel the consequences, from a natural reluctance to interfere with one of the dearest rights of the citizen.

It behooves the conductors of the press to interpose their authority in this matter, and to discountenance the abuse of their columns by uninformed and irresponsible correspondents. It is a duty they owe to their country as well as to their own reputations, and that of their journals.


The Secret of it.–An exchange relates that three or four times a couple appeared before a clergyman to be married; but the bridegroom was drunk, and the reverend gentleman refused to tie the knot. On the last occasion he expressed his surprise that so respectable a looking girl was not ashamed to appear at the altar with a man in such a state. The poor girl burst into tears, and said she could not help it. “And why, pray?” “Because, sir, he won’t come when he is sober!”


From 300 to 500 members of the Christian Commission called upon the President lately, to thank him for his hearty cooperation with their labors in the field of war. After George H. H. Stuart concluded his address to him, Mr. Lincoln characteristically said: “You owe me no thanks for what I have been able to do for you. If I may be permitted to say, I owe you no thanks for what you have excellently done for the country and me; we are both alike working in the same cause, and it is because of the fact of its being a just one which gives us our mutual joy and reward in its service.”


Shrewd Guess.–At a parish school examination near Swansea lately, when the question was asked, “Why did the children of Israel make a golden calf?” a sharp little fellow replied, “Because they hadn’t enough to make a bull.”

FEBRUARY 13, 1865

Gen. Lee as Commander-in-Chief.

The country and the army, says the Richmond Sentinel, will be delighted to hear that General Robert E. Lee was on yesterday nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, as Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate armies. We do not doubt that he will yield to the call thus made upon him, and enter without delay upon his enlarged sphere of duty–retaining personal command, however, of the army of Northern Virginia.

Let our whole people and our government, in all its departments, rally to the support of Gen. Lee in the position to which he has been thus appointed, with all the resources and all the zeal and energy at our command. We must not expect him to do our fighting, but to direct it; not to render unnecessary our own efforts, but to encourage them, and guide them, and apply them.

We stand on the threshold of a stern campaign. Soon we shall be busy amid its trying scenes. As we love our country, let us not lose another day of those which remain to us for appreciation. Let the most efficient means be adopted for gathering in the absentees from our armies, for bringing in recruits, for a wholesale reorganization, for providing supplies and munitions, and for putting forth our whole strength. We have called Gen. Lee to command, let us heed his counsels and second his efforts.

We have the material for an admirable campaign. We have a noble and powerful army. We have a wide country. We have abundant supplies. We are less strained for munitions after four years of war than we were in the first campaign. We can do great things if we will apply ourselves to the work like men. We trust that every bickering will now be hushed, and that there will be among us only a noble emulation which shall best serve his country, and best support our leaders.


Negotiation and War.

We make the subjoined extract from an able letter written to Governor Watts, of Alabama, by Wm. F. Sanford, Esq., of Auburn. The letter takes a calm and dispassionate, and encouraging view of our situation. The extract is so just to those who have differed on the subject of negotiation, that we commend it most heartily to the perusal of our readers. We trust it may aid in teaching all, not to doubt the patriotism of any, respect the honest convictions of all, and by uniting us, enable us to defeat the foe:

“While, like the Roman Consul, I shake the spear in the hand of the Statue of the God Mars, I invoke also the rod of Mercury. Mercury was the son of Jupiter. It was a beautiful conceit of the old Mythology which made the God of War owe his liberty to the unarmed Mercury. War without negotiation is senseless, brutal, devilish! I thank God that negotiation has commenced in earnest. It was wise in Mr. Davis–in every way wise and patriotic to send Commissioners to Lincoln. It makes no difference what may be the result of their present conference, this action involves ultimate peace; and to my mind settles the question of independence in our favor. This action of the President, like the appointment of Gen. Breckinridge to the Secretaryship of War, and Gen. Lee to the command of the Confederate armies and the restoration of Gen. Johnston to command, betokens a moderation and self-control on the part of the President, as well as a wisdom, which ought to silence every accusing tongue, and inspire the liveliest hope in every heart. ->

“Mr. Davis has met Governor Brown and Mr. Stephens and Mr. Orr, and every advocate of negotiation, with a reply which no man dare attempt to answer. The interpretation of his action is in these words: ‘Well, Gentlemen, you believe in negotiation. I do not. But try it. Here, Mr. Stephens, take Senator Hunter and Judge Campbell along with you. If you there can’t settle the question, nobody can. Do all in your power, consistent with our honor and independence, to arrest this war. If you succeed I shall rejoice with you. If you fail, you and your friends must rally with me to the rescue of our country, and fight to the death.’

“Mr. Stephens comprehended perfectly the significance of his mission. He saw that the least it could impart was the re-union of all heads and hearts and hands in the Confederacy in the impending campaign. That, he knew, would result in victory, at whatever cost. He said ‘Amen!’ to the President’s proposition and took his departure. If he ‘fails to negotiate a peace,” we shall soon after his return hear the shrill notes of his voice swelling through the valleys and echoing from the mountain-tops of every State in the Confederacy in favor of such was as tyrants sometimes demand as the price of liberty–‘war to the knife.’

But Mr. Davis hoped for something even better than our own union. Mr. Stephens believed in something better. Both perceived, clearly, that one more campaign might be necessary to ‘conquer a peace.’ Both know that Mr. Lincoln is so weighed down by opposing influences in the North and Europe that he cannot continue the war longer than one year. Mr. Stephens believed that the present agitation of the subject would so increase those opposing influences–so elevate the hopes of the peace men–so shake men’s minds loose from the bloody purpose, that Mr. Lincoln may find it impossible to recruit his wasted armies and prosecute even one more campaign. I believe that Mr. Stephen’s theory will prove to be the correct one; that the Mercury rod will prevail; that the diplomacy of this negotiation is perfect, and will at once unite the South and divide the North; that the appeal to reason will strengthen the argument of the peace party of the North–the pause in the work of death will give conscience a glimpse of the terrible responsibility of this war, and that if Mr. Lincoln shall attempt another campaign, it will be a failure. But every hope may be disappointed, and we may be thrown upon the one dreadful alternative of war. Looking to this possibility, and accepting as the plain truth the declaration of General Cleburne that, ‘when once our people, or the great body of them, sincerely value independence above every other earthly consideration,’ our success ‘shall be an accomplished fact,’ I give myself up wholly to consider the means of success. I look away from every other question and devote my energies to the work of preparation for possible war. Negotiation begun, my anxieties cease on that account. It will go on. Let us not be found like the sleeping pilot, unprepared for the storm which may arise. . .

14, 1865

The Rebel War Powwow.
Significant Speech and Silence.

It is noticed in the Richmond papers, but with­out comment, that neither vice president Step­hens nor Judge Campbell, two of the peace en­voys, have yet taken any part in the effort to fire he southern heart Mr. Stephens has gone to Georgia, but for what purpose is not known. Stephens and Hunter represented to Gen. Grant that they were willing to negotiate for return to the Union. Hunter made the first speech at the grand war powwow which was kept up at Richmond all day on Thursday last. Hunter declared the South to be fighting for the right of self-government, and raved about the fury and barbarity with which the North had waged war. He said the northern government would negotiate with the meanest hostile Indian tribe, but would make no terms with a nation of ten million people. Some of Mr. Hunter's statements are reported as follows:­

“In the government to which they were thus required to submit unconditionally, it was not promised that they should even have a voice. It was distinctly left uncertain whether they should be allowed any representation. President Lin­coln had told our commissioners–had told him (Mr. Hunter)–that should we elect representatives and send them to the Washington Congress, he (President Lincoln) would be in favor of receiv­ing them, but he was only one man, and whether or not they would be received was uncertain. Such was the inducement held out to us, such the proposed basis of pacification. Mr. Hunter then proceeded to notice some of the further consequences of submission or surrender to the Wash­ington government. More than three millions of slaves, worth from 1200 to 1500 millions of dollars, would at once be turned loose as idlers and vagabonds, upon our community. It was not nec­essary to explain the evils of such a population, nor would it be allowed to us to regulate or re­strain them, so as to make them useful, or cor­rect their viciousness.”

Mr. Benjamin, the rebel secretary of state, said in his speech, that Mr. Davis had never consented to any negotiations except on the basis of con­federate independence, and that vice president Stephens believed peace could be had on that basis, and therefore he was sent to make the effort. Mr. Benjamin proceeded to say;:

“We knew its failure would be the signal for a grand uprising of the people which was the only element necessary to success. We hear it now in the improved tone of public sentiment. What is our present duty? We want means. Are they in the country? If so, they belong to the country, and not to the man who chances to hold them now. They belong either to the Yankees or to the confederate states. I would take every bale of cotton in the land. Take all the cotton and tobacco and make it the basis of means without which we cannot go on. I want more. I want all the bacon, everything which can feed soldiers, and I want it as a free gift to the country. Talk of rights! What right do the arrogant invaders leave you? I want another thing. War is a game that cannot be played without men. Where are the men? Our resources of white population have greatly diminished, but you had 680,000 black men of the same ages, and could Divine prophecy have told us of the fierceness of the enemy’s death grapple at our throats, could we have known what me now know, that Lincoln has confessed, that without 200,000 Negroes which he stole from us, he would be com­pelled to give up the contest, should we have entertained any doubts upon the subject? Let us say to every Negro who wishes to go into the ranks on condition of being made free, ‘Go and fight–you are free.’ If we impress them, they will go against us. We know that every one who could fight for his freedom has no chance. The only side that has had advantage of this element is the Yankee people, that can beat us to the end of the year in making bargains. Let us imitate them in this–I would imitate them in nothing else. My own Negroes have been to me and said: ‘Master, set us free and we will fight for you. We had rather fight for you than for Yankees.’ But suppose it should not be so; there is no harm in trying. With all my early attachments and pre­judices, I would give up all.

“South Carolina, I know, will follow Virginia, as well as every other southern state, if she but take the lead. When shall it be done? Now, now. Let your legislature pass the necessary laws, and we will soon have 20,000 men down in those trenches fighting for the country. You must make up your minds to try that, or see your army withdrawn from before your town. I came to say disagreeable things. I tell you you are in danger, unless some radical measure be taken. I know not where white men can be had. It is said there are quartermaster's clerks, railroad em­ployees and men in bomb-proofs; but I tell you there are not enough able-bodied white men in the country. Do you suppose we have worked night after night by this infamous gaslight you ­have here, and not found out this thing? My honorable friend has told you that deserters and skulkers would come in. It is possible; but where is Tennessee and other states that were formerly relied on? You have part of Virginia. –part of North Carolina, part of South Carolina, and parts of other states–what else? [Voice–Texas.] Texas! She is beyond our reach. Would that she were not! ->

There is another thing wanted after you have given us all the men and all the means we want. Croakers should be hanged. (Good.) They should be put in the trenches and the soldiers should inflict capital punishment upon them. Put them in the trenches, and let soldiers come to town and take their places. This is the sort of capital punish­ment I would accord them.”

At the evening meeting Mr. Semmes of Louisiana, made a speech quite as depressing to the rebels in its views of the situation as that of Mr. Benjamin. Among other things he said:­

“Though hereafter we might be obliged to fall back to the interior of the country, they should not despond. The fall of Charleston, Wilmington, or even of Virginia was not the fall of the cause. It had been said that Virginia troops would not leave Virginia if it were abandoned by the con­federate government. Any Virginia soldier who should remain here under such circumstances, would remain here because he wished and was ready to submit. Therefore be wanted no such talk. We all looked to Virginia, not only as the mother of statesmen, but of warriors, the mother of that grand old hero, Robert E. Lee, whom we were all willing to follow wherever he might lead.”

The Richmond Examiner thinks the correspondence between President Davis and Secretary Seddon is not calculated to stimulate enthusiasm in the South. “Mr. Seddon resigns in deference to the wishes of congress. Mr. Davis protests against a resignation upon any such ground, and would not accept the resignation, if Mr. Seddon could be induced to retract it. He denies the responsibility of cabinet Offices to any authority, except to the president himself, and claims for the executive as much right to express a distrust of congress, as for congress to declare a want of confidence in the executive.”

The Enquirer of the 9th calls for an entire change is the rebel cabinet. The great objection to Secretary Benjamin is that he is a Jew. “One great cause of Mr. Benjamin's unpopularity has been the fact that in no proclamation signed by him, as secretary of state, has ever the existence of a Triune God been admitted. He has confined his state papers to deistical belief, and stamped upon the religious faith of the country a practical denial of a Trinitarian Jehovah. This was his faith, but not the faith of the wide-spread religious sentiment that prevails throughout this country. The people do not like to be made to choose between Jesus Christ and Judah P. Benjamin, and to take the latter in preference. Appealing to God, and not recognizing the divinity of His Son, is mocking  Jehovah with a vain repetition of words which have no meaning. The country asks no hypocrisy from Mr. Benjamin; his religious belief is respected, but they desire some other statesman, whose faith more accords with the religious convictions of the people.”

The Whig is delighted with Get Bather’s attack on Gen Game. It knew before that Grant's reputation was founded on charlatanry, and that his victories in Virginia were wholesale defeats and slaughters, but it is glad to have those facts confirmed on such veracious testimony as that of Butler. The Whig also gloats over Butler’s statement about the stoppage of exchanges, and says: “It appears that Grant gave orders to stop the exchange after Butler had made arrangements to perfect it. That Butler then wrote an argument not for the purpose of supporting a position deemed to be just in itself, but to make a case by which the violation of the cartel might be justified to the world. In other words, the reasons given were not the true reasons, but were sham reasons, and thus the scores of thousands of unfortunate captives on both sides were made to suffer, not to maintain a principle, but in order to prevent the confederacy getting the services of any more men, and thus to enable Grant to conceal, in some, measure, his extraordinary blun­ders and stupendous losses.”

Gov. Clark has called an extra session of the Mississippi legislature at Mason on the 20th. The Virginia legislature is talking about raising the value of confederate paper by making the buying and selling of gold a penal offense. The rebel congress is considering a bill to abolish the conscription bureau, and put the whole business in the hands of the army.

A committee of conference is adjusting the dif­ference between the bills of the rebel senate and house on the employment of free Negroes and slaves in the army. The bill for enlisting 200,000 slaves, to be emancipated if they prove true and loyal to the end of the war, received the votes of Senators Brown, Henry and Vest.

15, 1865

Letter from Washington.

Washington, Feb. 13th, 1865.

One of the most provoking, and at the same time heart-breaking undertakings in the world is to attempt to write a letter when there is absolutely nothing whatever to write about. The “Washington Correspondent” is peculiarly a victim of such a state of affairs. With the most praiseworthy intentions, he seizeth his pen, and accumulating paper and ink, setteth about the composition of his letter with diligence. The date of the communication is written easily enough–after that, as Tony Lumpkin says, it is all buzz.1 He, as it were, calls spirits from the vasty deep, but they will not come. He invokes facts and incidents, but they elude his mental grasp, nor can his pen capture them in their flight to imprison them on paper. He curses the science of telegraphy, which forestalls all he could say, and execrates the name of Morse. But the letter must be written, and so Willard’s is haunted and Congressmen bored, and newspapers rummaged, and the result is a mélange of pickings, stealings, and very little original matter to give consistency to the mess, and thus it is when there is no news afloat that “our Washington correspondent” meets his responsibilities and fulfills the contract with his employees.

The ice is thickly packed in the Potomac river, and so cold is the weather, that this impediment to navigation is hourly growing more formidable. A few daring boats have managed to crush their way through the obstacle, but it is expected that the channel will soon be closed, and then our communication with Grant’s army, can only be kept up by telegraph until the weather becomes more moderate.

The recent movement to Hatcher’s Run, which was at first regarded as a serious check by many, is now looked upon as a success, and furnishes another evidence of Grant’s outgeneralling Lee. The Richmond papers concede that Grant’s “movement of cavalry in the direction of Dinwiddie Court House seems to have been planned and executed to give his infantry time to entrench on the ground they had won at Hatcher’s Run, which, as is now known, they have done effectually,” and from which they cannot be dislodged. Our men are now near enough the long-tried-for South Side railroad to hear the whistling of the locomotives and the rumbling of the trains. The rebels admit that their loss was very heavy in the late engagements and included two general officers. The truth is, Grant has made another advance against Richmond, tightening his inexorable grasp upon the rebel capital, and furthering the triumph which cannot be avoided by all the generalship of Lee and the gallantry of his followers.

A scene was presented yesterday in the capital of the nation, which heretofore has had no parallel in this eventful age. A black man conducted divine service in the Hall of the United States House of Representatives, and his audience, composed of high and low, black and white, sat together with one voice joined in the responses. The preacher’s name was the Rev. H. H. Garnet, and he was the first colored man whose voice had ever been heard in the Council Chamber of the nation. ->

It was one epoch in this age that will not soon be forgotten. How it will gladden the sainted repose of an Adams, a Giddings and a Lovejoy, to know that their fervent prayers to the Lord of Sabbath have been so early heeded. As the minister stood in the speaker’s place with the full length portrait of Washington adorning the wall upon his right, and that of Lafayette upon his left he appeared as authority for free men and women, and in a most eloquent strain he paid a beautiful tribute to the spirits of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and the hosts of Freedom’s champions, who, if they looked down upon the scene a few days since in that hall, when the great national work was consummated that slavery should no longer exist in this country, must have responded with the angel choir a heart Amen!

This is but a faint sketch of his able discourse–and several times during its delivery the audience were so thrilled by the power of his logic that it was with difficulty that their enthusiasm was restrained.–Kearsarge.


Spiteful Rebel Women.–A member of the Second Massachusetts Cavalry, now in the Shenandoah Valley, writing to his friends in this city, said some of the men in that regiment, on a recent Sunday, attending services in a small Episcopal church. The congregation was made up of women and children, with the exception of two or three old men. The women scowled as the soldiers passed up the aisle, and some of them vented their spite by spitting upon the men in Federal uniform.–Boston Traveller.


Southern News.–Washington, Feb. 14.–Richmond papers of the 11th contain the following:

In the rebel House of Representatives on the 7th, Mr. Barksdale introduced a bill providing that the President be authorized to ask and accept from the owners of slaves such numbers of able bodied Negroes as he may deem expedient during the war, to perform military service in whatever capacity the General-in-Chief may direct. The House, 22 against 53 refused to reject the bill, which was then sent to a special committee.


Washington Matters.– Washington, Feb. 14.–It is stated that the substance of the dispatch from General Grant to the government, received to-day, is that the Richmond papers of Monday say that Sherman has crossed the Edisto, which was the line held by General Hardee, defending Branchville.

According to the same rebel authority, a portion of Sherman’s forces are two-thirds of the way from the Edisto to Columbia, at an important point forming a junction of the Charlotte & South Carolina and Greenville & Columbia railroads, which connect with the railroads to Richmond.


The American Soldier.

The Army and Navy Journal contains an admirable article on “The Future of the American Soldier,” designed to show the futility of the idea very generally entertained that, with peace, will come a very practical difficulty will come a very practical difficulty in disposing of our soldiers, and that it will be desirable, perhaps absolutely necessary, to embroil ourselves with some foreign power to find the only fitting use and safe employment for the adventurous spirits which our civil war has called out on both sides.  The article shows a very just appreciation of the character of the American Soldier, and illustrates very satisfactorily the difference between our troops, composed of volunteers of intelligence and education, fitly representing the great industrial classes, and those of European monarchies and despotisms.  It also gives a graphic picture of what our soldiers have accomplished.

“The standing armies of Europe,” it says, “present no analogies to these three great Anglo-Saxon armies of liberty, and more especially to ours of to-day.  They are levied for destruction; this to preserve and construct.  They are armies of kings; this an army of people.  They, officered by privileged classes, by years of severe training, succeed in converting a class, held by the exigencies of poverty in a position only less degrading than that of the slave in that it recognizes their freedom, into machine soldiers, capable of great daring and great endurance, but entirely dependent upon their leaders for guidance.  The American Army sprang at once, almost ready made, from counting-house, store and workshop--each individual brought the keen intelligence which he had hitherto devoted to his private business, to learning that new profession to which patriotism summoned him.  In days he accomplished the work of months.  In a few months he became a veteran equal to the trained soldiers possessing years of experience.  In the artillery, the most difficult of arms, a volunteer field force was organized which, in a single year, could not have been surpassed, hardly perhaps equalled, by any regular artillery holding the field on long lines of communication.

“A race unaccustomed to the saddle have raised a cavalry which, though often beaten at the commencement of the war, never lost confidence, and was never discouraged, and has ended by becoming the type upon which its antagonists are trying to organize a force able to withstand it.  A volunteer engineer corps has constructed bridges over larger rivers and more rapid streams than have been bridged by an army before; have made surveys of the most elaborate and accurate description, stretching over a vast extent of country; have thrown up works exhibiting a capacity of resistance equal to the choices productions of the European schools.  A volunteer infantry has shown unequalled endurance under hardship, unfailing courage under defeats, brilliant perseverance under difficulties--qualities supposed to be the peculiar qualities of the veteran.  It has achieved victories over men of the same race, led by the ablest officers the Southern aristocracy could produce, educated at the expense of the Union and they betrayed.  It has assaulted works deemed impregnable by good judges, made marches without parallel, campaigned over snow-clad mountains as difficult of access as the Alps or the Apennines, over rivers larger than any Europe containsand it has accomplished all this under the inspiration of pure patriotism, and the exalted love of freedom. ->

“Above all, it has developed generals whose previous experience was at the outside limited to commanding a company of infantry or cavalry against an Indian tribe; a few of whom, nevertheless, whether we consider their disposition of troops in action, their handling of enormous bodies of men, their strategical manœuvres, through campaigns involving advances of  hundreds of miles; the personal influence they exert upon their men, or the brilliant and sound originality they have shown that in some of their maneuvers, are without equal in modern daysNapoleonic himself alone excepted.

“When the armies of Cromwell and Washington laid down the sabres they had taken up for popular liberty, and returned each man to his plough, his workshop, his store, history has recorded that they were remarkable for their valuable qualities as citizens; honest, upright, industrious, with minds disciplined by the career they had gone through, by the dangers they had met, the difficulties they had overcome, and the death they had so often freely faced.  They became the ornaments of the countries they had fought four, the noble expounders of the liberty they had won.  So will the American soldier of to-day; the task he imposed upon himself once accomplished, the Union preserved, the Constitution respected, liberty secured, returning to his daily path in life a better citizen then he left it.”


The American Navy.

Hon. Alexander H. Rice, in his masterly defence of the general policy of the Navy Department, in reply to Hon. H. Winter Davis, gave the following comprehensive summary of what has been accomplished for the Navy:

“Well, sir, during the year 1861, starting in the spring with only four vessels available for the whole uses of this gigantic war, to blockade all the southern ports, to recover all the places that had been stolen from us, to open the great internal channels of commerce–starting, I say, with those four vessels, before the close of the year 1861, the first year of the war, during a period of only about nine months, the number increased from four vessels to two hundred and twenty-six. This is the work accomplished, so far as outfitting a navy is concerned, by this Department in the first nine or ten months of the war. During the second year that number was increased to between three and four hundred. During the next year, if I remember rightly, it rose up to more than five hundred and eighty. And now, sir, at the end of the fourth year, we have a Navy of six hundred and seventy-one vessels; not all built on one plan, not all built of one size, not all built of one fashion and for one use, as the honorable gentleman from Maryland would seem to imply by his argument would have been judicious, but various in their construction and appliances, adapted to the ever-changing, ever-new exigencies and necessities of this great war.”

17, 1865

Progress of the War.

Virginia.–Rumor still asserts that Richmond is to be evacuated at an early day. Great meetings have recently been held in the city and much fiery talk indulged in. Hunter said the result of the recent conference shows that nothing is left to the South but war to the bitter end or servitude. Benjamin, the rebel Secretary of State, was in favor of the States arming the slaves, and called upon Virginia to take the lead. There is evidently a great effort made to influence the masses immediately, before the real state of the case is known. Meanwhile the clamor against Davis and his Cabinet continues and the papers call l0udly for a change, saying the people have lost all confidence in the administration at Richmond.

The rebel Congress have been holding recent session in relation to their finances, it having been ascertained that their debt is four hundred millions more than they had estimated. Additional taxation is recommended.

Sherman’s Advance.–Branchville is reported to be in Sherman’s possession, and Charleston is again evacuated. As it has already been evacuated, on paper, several times, no one is in haste to credit the story. A rebel dispatch from Branchville states that our soldiers had destroyed the railroad bridge over the Edisto river, cutting off all communication by rail with Augusta. Kilpatrick was at Blackville with three brigades.

From the South West.–It is ascertained that a heavy cavalry force under Gen. Wilson, the well-known cavalry leader, is moving from northern Mississippi in the direction of Montgomery, Ala., and thence, it is said, will move on Mobile. This expedition is reported to consist of forty thousand men. The distance is about three hundred miles, through a country easy to traverse and affording sufficient forage on the line of march. It is the largest expedition of the kind during the war, and no doubt is entertained of its success.


Communication with Richmond.–It is well known that for a long time communication with Richmond has been kept up by means of advertisements in the New York Daily News. The “personal notices” in that paper contained great numbers of advertisements, addressed to people in the South, purporting to make inquiries or to give personal information, and the Richmond papers were requested to copy them, and did so. They in turn published similar advertisements which were copied into the News, and thus a steady correspondence kept up. Whether the inquiries as to “the health of Mary” and the reply that “John was here last week looking well,” and the like were bona fide family news, or reports of a more serious sort in disguise, nobody could tell, but the gravest suspicions have long been entertained. General Dix has now ordered the News to suppress its “personal notices of this sort. We know of no case in which the military power could be exercised with better reason, to control the action of the press.


Effect of Peace upon Prices.

We do not anticipate any sudden decline in prices upon the return of peace. A decline in the price of gold would not necessarily produce a great fall in the price of goods; for other causes may, and we think, will, tend to keep them up. Thus the enormous amount of taxes which the war necessity has created, is a component part of the price of any article; and so long as the tax continues, the higher price must continue. ->

A familiar instance will occur to our readers in the case of matches, which on the 1st of September last, advanced one hundred and forty-four cents on the gross. There was no change on that day in the price of gold. It was the tax that increased the price. And so, in like proportion, on all articles which are taxed. Secondly, an increased demand will advance or keep up prices without reference to the price of gold.

This demand, we think, will arise in the immense amount of supplies required by the devastated South. That great region, containing some ten millions of people, has been so exhausted during four years past, that a lively demand will for a long time exist for all those commodities which they have received from the North. This demand will take the place of, and exceed that caused by, the purchases by the government for the army; and this last demand will not cease, for the army will still be kept up, and the peace establishment is not likely to be reduced very much below that in time of war.

Again, as soon as peace returns, a strong impetus will be given to ship building. Our ships have been destroyed by pirates, worn out and wrecked during the last four years, and, on account of the political troubles, little or no attempt has been made to supply their places. We say nothing now of those sold to foreign flags, although to a limited extent, they might be considered in the calculation. But to fill the places of those actually taken out of service, a great demand for labor, materials for building and equipping in great variety will spring up, and all of these items will rather advance than decline upon the restoration of peace. The price of gold will not greatly affect the price of these things.

So of real estate. The high prices of labor and material, (an advance o an average of more than double that of three years ago,) have checked building, and no new contracts were made. The result is that the supply of houses and stores has been reduced, rents and prices of real estate are now increasing rapidly, and by the time of peace there will be no supply equal to the demand. The increasing prosperity of new trade will call for new houses, and they will be put at the enhanced prices.

Foreign goods, as it seems to us, are the only articles likely to suffer a large and permanent fall, and this may happen by reason of the decline in the price of foreign exchange. The decline of gold would reduce bills on Europe in the same ratio, and the importer thereby purchasing his goods at lower rates, could sell at corresponding reduction.

So long, however, as our heavy taxes continue, all prices must keep up, for the simple reason that the tax makes a part of the cost of the article and is finally paid by the consumer. We do not anticipate, on the return of peace, any extent of commercial embarrassment. The trade of the last two or three years has been mostly for cash or its equivalent, and a spirit and principle of caution have prevailed which will break the effect of a fall in prices, should t occur, and for the foregoing reasons we do not apprehend any great decline. There is not any such vast amount of debt piled up in eh South and Southwest as was in former years the result of long credits, and of the tendency of those sections to anticipate their future crops.

FEBRUARY 18, 1865


A Ram Sold by the Danish Government to the Rebels.–Official information has been received from Mr. Dudley, Consul at London, to the effect that a telegram from Nantes, France, states that the Bordeaux ram has been sold by the Danish Government to the Rebels, at the island of Houat, and that she will sail immediately. He also stated that some fifty sailors were shipped from there some days previous, and went to France, no doubt for this vessel. He says he is disposed to believe the report true, as everything in England tends to confirm it.


The latest news from Europe is that the Confederate steamer Ajar has escaped from the Clyde and gone to the West Indies. Also, that the so-called “Peruvian steamer Union” is suspected of having a similar object in view and it so, we may soon expect to hear of depredations in the West Indies.


Recovery from the Effects of War.–Mills, in his Political Economy, speaks of the rapidity with which people recover from the effects of war, and explains the reason as follows:

This perpetual consumption and reproduction of capital affords the explanation of what has so often excited wonder, the great rapidity with which countries recover from a state of devastation; the disappearance, in a short time, of all traces of the mischiefs done by earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and the ravages of war. An enemy lays waste a country by fire and sword, and destroys or carries away nearly all the moveable wealth existing in it: all the inhabitants are ruined, and yet in a few years after, everything is much as it was before. This vis medicatrix natures has been a subject of sterile astonishment, or has been cited to exemplify the wonderful strength of the principle of saving, which can repair such enormous losses in so brief an interval. There is nothing at all wonderful in the matter. What the enemy have destroyed, would have been destroyed in a little time by the inhabitants themselves: the wealth which they so rapidly reproduce, would have needed to be reproduced and would have been reproduced in any case, and probably in as short an interval.

Nothing is changed, except that during the reproduction they have not now the advantage of consuming what had been produced previously. The possibility of a rapid repair of their disasters, mainly depends on whether the country has been depopulated. If its effective population have not been extirpated at the time, and are not starved afterwards; then, with the same skill and knowledge which they had before, with their land and its permanent improvements undestroyed, and the more durable buildings probably unimpaired, or only partially injured, they have nearly all the requisites for their former amount of production. If there is as much of food left to them, or of valuables to buy food, as enables them by any amount of privation to remain alive and in working condition, they will in a short time have raised as great a produce, and acquired collectively as great wealth and as great a capital, as before; by the mere continuance of that ordinary amount of exertion which they are accustomed to employ in their occupations. Nor does this evince any strength in the principle of saving, in the popular sense of the term, since what takes place is not intentional abstinence but involuntary privation.

Yankee Notions.–The notion that school houses are cheaper than state prisons.

The notion that men are a better crop to raise than anything else.

The notion that people who have brains enough can’t be governed by any-body but themselves.

The notion that if you can’t make a man think as you do, try to make him do as you think.

The notion that the United States is liable at any time to be doubled, but ain’t liable at any time to be divided.

The notion that Uncle Sam can thrash his own children when they need it.

The notion that the Yankees area  foreordained race, and can’t  be kept from spreading and striking in any more than turpentine can when it once gets loose.–Josh Billings.


Comparative Strength of Liquors.

Dr. Jones, physician of St. George’s Hospital, London, in a recent lecture, stated that the different fermented liquors which he had examined might, in regard to their strength or stimulating power, be thus arranged: Cider 100; Porter 109; Stout 138; ale 141; Moselle 158; Claret 166; Burgundy 191; Hock 191; Champagne 241; Madeira 325; Marsala 341; Port 358; Sherry 358; Geneva 811; Brandy 986; Rum 1243. Thus ten glasses of Cider or Porter, six glasses of claret, five of Burgundy, four of Champagne, three of Sherry, are equivalent to one glass of Brandy, or three-quarters of a glass of Rum.


A Freedman.–Among the lodgers at the Fifth War station house last night was an old Negro, about sixty years. He was crippled, broken down with age, and had no home. During the day, as we learned from himself, he begged his meals, and at night pitched for the nearest station house. This course of living he had indulged in for nearly ten months. He was formerly a slave in Virginia, and, as he stated, had a kind and indulgent master. He was liberated by our troops, sent to Washington, and from thence shipped to Philadelphia, where he has since remained almost in a state of starvation. He claims that he never had any desire to come North, but was deceived by those who sent him here. He want so go “home” again, as he terms it, as he feels that he is in a strange and cold land, without friends or protection. He has been in the alms house once or twice, and committed to prison as a vagrant quite as often. This is not the only instance where the freedmen of the South has been sent North to starve and to fill our almshouses and prisons.–Philadelphia Age.


The enormous sum of $114,645,362.49 has been expended merely for bounties by the cities, towns and counties of New York. The proportion will probably hold good in every State in the Union. There must come an end to all this, sooner or later, for the load of indebtedness will be too monstrous to be borne.

1 Tony Lumpkin is a fictional character who first appeared in Oliver Goldsmith's 1773 play, She Stoops to Conquer. The character became so popular that he was later used in a 1778 play, Tony Lumpkin in Town, by John O'Keeffe. The play was still popular in England in the mid-nineteenth century, so the character and such lines were familiar to American readers. While this may seem incredible, consider that in 2014, lines from famous movies of the 1930s are still recognized, (e.g., “Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn!” or “I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”)

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