Skedaddle — the e-journal
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April 30, 1861
Chronological History of the Civil War
New York Herald
The Situation of Affairs.
The course of the administration at the present time appears to be of a vigorous and energetic character. Troops are being rapidly concentrated in the vicinity of Washington in such force as may change the original designs of the Southern leaders upon the federal capital. There can be no doubt, from the fact that all the southern troops actually in motion are observed in every quarter to be advancing toward the North, and from the fact that large bodies of men are quartered in Richmond, Harper’s Ferry and other points on the Southern border, that the intention of the secessionists was to make an attempt upon Washington, and, as preliminary measures, to seize the Navy Yard at Norfolk, the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Fortress Monroe, which commands the entrance to the Chesapeake, and Portsmouth, which faces the Norfolk (Gosport) Navy Yard. If they had accomplished all these manoeuvres and succeeded in making Baltimore the basis of operations against the federal capital, Washington would have been completely surrounded by hostile troops and cut off from all commutations with the North.
But the rebels were foiled in this attempt. They were too slow for the prompt action of General Scott, and the capital is now secure with its garrison of 18,000 and the hordes of troops which are organized all over the North, ready to pour into it at the word of command. There are probably not less than a quarter of a million of men in the different Northern States enrolled at present, of whom about 68,000 are qualified for active service in the field. It is not overestimating the number to say that 15,000 troops, from all points of the North, are at this moment ready to march for Washington, independent of the men already there, and those guarding the railroad from Annapolis. That the government is resolved to carry on the war vigorously, and to the bitter end, is evident from the fact that it has just decided to receive out of the 75,000 volunteers called for, 40,000 men to serve for three years, 25,000 for five years, and 13,000 out of the regular army to serve for five years, besides enrolling 18,000 sailors for the navy. An additional call has been made upon Pennsylvania for twenty regiments of infantry and one of cavalry, all of which have already been tendered to the Governor for the service of the United States government. Intelligence received from Harrisburg last night intimates that a prompt movement is about to be made from Pennsylvania at once which may result in the occupation of Baltimore by federal troops within forty eight hours. It is certain that troops are being hurriedly concentrated at Camp Scott, and Chambersburg; to the latter point ten brass field pieces and a large quantity of ammunition were forwarded within a few days.
The government has decided to establish an arsenal at once at Rock Island City, Illinois, in place of the Harper’s Ferry Arsenal just destroyed. Rock Island City stands on the banks of the Mississippi, 182 miles southwest of Chicago. It is situated at the foot of the Upper Rapids, which extend nearly fifteen miles, and in low stages of water obstruct the passage of vessels drawing a heavy draft. In the channel is an island from which the city derives its name, three miles in length, presenting a perpendicular front of limestone from twenty to thirty feet high; the channel to the east of the island has been dammed, so as to produce an immense water power above, and leaving a fine navigable channel on the west side. It is very probable that the arsenal will be located on this island, and its geographical position seems very favorable for this purpose.
Our despatches from Harrisburg, represent that city to be full of loyal Marylanders and Virginians, who have fled from the reign of terror in those States, many of whom are joining the volunteers in defence of the Union. It is said that the Baltimoreans are determined to resist the passage of the Pennsylvania troops through Maryland, notwithstanding the reaction said to exist there, but on the other hand it is stated that the Pennsylvanians are ready for any emergency, and that if they are attacked the city of Baltimore is doomed. We are informed, however, by our despatches from Washington that the Maryland Legislature, now in session at Frederick, decided yesterday not to call a convention of the people on the question of secession, by a vote of 53 yeas to 13 nays, and also resolved that the troops of the United States Government shall be permitted to pass through he States. A great change in public sentiment is reported to have occurred in Baltimore, which has been manifested by an extensive display of the Stars and Stripes in all quarters of the city.
It was rumored that Mr. Mason, of Virginia, was arrested yesterday in Pennsylvania, but the report is authentically contradicted. It is manifest from all the intelligence which reached us up to a late hour last night, that warlike preparations are being pressed on by the government in a vigorous fashion, which will astonish and may dismay the leaders of the Southern insurrectionists before many days are passed.
The Entire North in Action.
History rarely if ever presented such a sublime manifestation of patriotic devotion and military ardor as is displayed in the Northern States at this day. With one common impulse all classes of the people, without regard to political opinion, creed, or nativity, are responding to the country’s call, and falling into the ranks of the volunteers.
In great cities like New York of course military enthusiasm concentrates and intensifies; but it is by no means confined to large communities. Every little town and village all over the North has its band of heroes, going forth to battle for the government and the flag of the republic. From one little village in Ohio the other day, with a total population of sixteen hundred, four hundred soldiers turned out. This must have been nearly half the male adult population of the place; and no doubt like instances are occurring every day in other quarters.
In every possible way devotion to the government in this eventful crisis is manifesting itself. Merchants who were not esteemed very liberal with their means are retaining the situation of their clerks who have volunteered, and are paying their salaries to their families, besides contributing thousands to the general fund. Clerks who cannot leave the city are doing double duty for those who are gone; ladies are contributing their quota of service in preparing necessaries for the sick and wounded, and in some cases, as in Philadelphia, are volunteering their assistance to the clothing stores to hasten the completion of uniforms for the troops. And yet, with all this ardor at the North, there does not exist the least wish to subjugate the South. Our Southern brethren are in a state of insurrection against the government and the flag which have protected the whole country, and made it the mighty and prosperous nation it is. The people at the North are determined to bring back the insurrectionists to their senses and their allegiance to the flag of our common country, and it is for this purpose that one voice is ringing throughout the whole Northern States, proclaiming that the national capital must be protected, the constitution and laws obeyed, and peace be restored to the land. In view of this state of the case, it remains for the South now, to decide what her fate is to be the momentous issue before us.
The New York Troops.
The following graphic and detailed account of the trip of the Seventh regiment is contained in a letter from a member of the regiment to a friend in this city:—
WASHINGTON, April 26, 1861.
FRIEND LEFERTSON—I suppose you will want to know how we got here. I could write a history about our journey. Having left New York on Friday morning, it may seem strange to you that it takes, or took us, six days to come here. We had a fine time all along the New Jersey route; at every station crowds were drawn up to receive us by the booming of cannon, the goodbye of the old folks, little remembrances, such as rosettes, cards with red, white and blue ribbon attached, and all sorts of little things. We had a very pleasant trip all through to Philadelphia—we were there stopped. It was our intention to proceed directly to Washington by rail; but the railroad company would not take us through. We heard of the attack made upon the Massachusetts and Philadelphia troops, and saw a party of Philadelphians return, all knocked and bruised. It raised our dander and made us eager to teach Baltimore a lesson; but as we could get there only by marching, we were obliged to go to Washington some other way. The people of Philadelphia treated us very well—some of the citizens invited us to their houses to dinner. One poor widow woman opened her house and gave us bread and coffee, hot. In the afternoon we were formed into line, and started for—we did not know where; but after marching three miles in a hot sun, we found ourselves at the river, where the steamer Boston had been chartered to receive us. She was provided with three days’ rations, consisting of beef and hard crackers and water; also with tin canteens and army pouches or haversacks, an oiled bag to contain provisions. We sailed about five o’clock down the Delaware; left the dock amid the cheering of people, firing of canon, &c. A man of war in the stream manned her yards as we passed. We sailed down the Delaware river, and about nine o’clock, after we had had supper, which consisted of a piece of meat and a hard cracker, served up in pails, each man taking a chunk, putting in on his tin plate amid the clattering of knives and forks, we rolled ourselves up in our blankets, used our knapsacks for pillows, and laid ourselves on the soft downy planks of the Boston in regular style, the first man putting himself in position, and each man closing in with him. When we wanted to take a turn we would all have to wake up and turn together. We woke up Sunday morning about five o’clock, and found ourselves on the briny deep, or Atlantic ocean. We were all very sober Sunday, commencing to sing psalms in the morning. We were all alone on the ocean, near an enemy’s land, and did not know but that we would not again see those friends who were at that very time at the same service with us. Dr. Weston, our chaplain, performed the service. He was very solemn. It made me fairly cry, as we stood there, and thinking of home. In the afternoon we arrived at the Chesapeake Bay. We first thought of going up the Potomac river, but it would have been very foolish to have done so, as one shot would have sunk us. We therefore kept up the Chesapeake. A splendid sail we had. It is a splendid country, the banks full of green trees, grass, &c.—about a month ahead of New York. In the evening we were constantly startled by skyrockets, fired from the shore as we supposed by the enemy, to tell of our approach, but nothing touched us. We retired as before at nine o’clock. We were expecting a war vessel to meet us, and stopped every vessel to inquire about it, but could get no tidings of one. We awoke next morning to find ourselves in front of Annapolis, the capital of Maryland. It is a small city, the principal attraction being the naval school. We found here the war vessel Constitution, which had been moored out from Annapolis, for fear of an attack. She had 40,000 pounds of powder on board, and was manned by the cadets. Also a railroad steamboat taken by the Massachusetts troops, that left New York the same day without us, as a prize. They took her at Havre de Grace, and brought her around to Annapolis. The pilot was a secessionist, and run them aground. They put him in irons. The crew and engineers were also secessionists. They cleared them out and substituted some of their own men, who were engineers. The government has now possession of the boat, and have manned her with United States marines and some cannon. They use it as a transport. They were aground and had nothing to eat. We pulled them off and gave them what we could. In the afternoon we landed and quartered in a small fort belonging to the school, affording only very close quarters. The cadets were overjoyed to see us, as they anticipated an attack and had been under arms. We acted as guard. I was on the first night, and was stationed at the extreme end of the yard, three or four hundred yards from any of the guard; they expected an attack from that end, being nearest the city. I kept my eye open. The next day all the little niggers of the city bought in cakes, pies, lemons at ten cents each, and other things they charged for what you buy in New York for one cent, 12 1/2 cents or a tip. We had two meals a day: a breakfast at seven o’clock, dinner and supper at four o’clock. During this, Tuesday night we went to sleep armed, our muskets by our sides, ready at a moment’s notice for an attack. I went to bed at nine o’clock. At eleven o’clock an alarm was sounded; in seven minutes we were up and had formed line for an attack. The alarm came from ships in the harbor. They signaled the approach of a fleet, which proved to be some of our New York vessels. We then returned to bed. At three o’clock next morning my company (Second) and the Sixth were aroused and prepared for marching. Our rations—consisting of raw salt pork, hard biscuit and water—were served. We then started, with a howitzer, as skirmishers, to precede the main force, on a journey of twenty miles. The Boston troops had taken possession of the railroad and station, and had put together a locomotive which had been all demolished. It so happened that the very man who built the locomotive was among the Massachusetts troops. It did not take him long to put it together again and lay down the rails which had been torn up for four miles ahead. We put our knapsacks in the train and started on our journey at five o’clock, the second company taking the lead. Our duty was to send scouts a mile ahead and tell of any ambuscade or gathering. We were told by the people of Annapolis that we never could get ten miles. The country is a very desolate one, giving us no chance of regressing ourselves, there being about ten houses between Annapolis and Washington. The day was very hot, and several of the men were sun struck. Nothing of interest happened except a shower caught us and soaked us. About nine o’clock the main body caught us, two miles from a place called Junction, where we were told five thousand troops had gathered to oppose us. The boys were so tired that when we stopped they fell down to sleep as if they were dead—they were so tired with the day fatiguing march. I was in the advance guard. The most of us were building a bridge which had been torn down. I went back to our company and found only a few members. A few feet ahead I saw about twenty five blankets, &c. thrown on the ground. At once saw that some of them had advanced for some reason. I threw my clothes on the ground and alone advanced to meet them and see what was the matter. I met them, twenty five men advancing cautiously with their fingers on their triggers. I fell in and advanced with them seeing there was some desperate work ahead. We went a mile on the track. On both sides was a forest of bushes and trees. It seems our Lieutenant who is a very courageous man, was in advance with one or two men, when he saw some men tearing up the track, and the twenty five had advanced to rout them without anyone in the regiment knowing it. I expected an attack from about seventy five to one hundred men, and had given up all hopes of ever reaching camp again. Imagine us one mile from any help, in an enemy country, surrounded, in the dead of night, by bushes, trying to find some one to fight. After advancing a mile we returned, strapped on our blankets and things, and again started alone for the Junction, where we anticipated to meet 5,000. Well, we advanced (that is about seventy five of the Second company). We had to go through woods, deep gullies, &c. The rest of the camp was fast asleep. We advanced with our fingers on our muskets. We were spoiling for a fight, and expected to be cut to pieces; but our object was to pioneer New York State to Washington, and open communication, as all other routes were closed. After a half hour’s march were found our selves at the famous Junction, but were disappointed in finding no enemy, but consoled ourselves with the idea of having captured this famous place. We took possession of the railroad station, and went to bed on a pile of weed, after having first stationed a guard to prevent surprise. In the morning the main body missed us, and sent scouts through the country, supposing us to have been lost; but when they found us in possession of the railroad junction, village and all, they raised three cheers, which were returned by the whole regiment. During the morning, a train was sent from Washington, which conveyed us there without further incidents. So you see the Seventh regiment has started, through Maryland, communication with New York and sent through the first mail to Washington that had been received in a week. Bully for the Seventh regiment, Second company. In Washington we marched three miles to the White House, presented ourselves to ‘Old Abe,’ and let him know New York city was ready. We then went to Willards’ National Hotel and took dinner. In the evening went to the Capitol, where they have stationed us in the hall of the Representatives, a splendid room. I slept last night on a marble floor, not as soft as a pine floor, but I slept. We have made arrangements to take meals at the hotels; our company at Willard’s at seventy five cents per day. The people here supposed us to have been all killed; they heard we had had a fight at Baltimore; that we killed five hundred and lost fifty. They afterwards heard we were routed on the way from Annapolis and had returned home licked. We have been treated well here; they look at us as ghosts arisen from the dead. But, here we are, and likely to remain for a month. Today we were all mustered before the President and took the oath of allegiance to support the President of the United States, the flag that has thirty four stars on it and the constitution. It was a grand sight to see us repeat the oath after the Marshal. I am now a United States soldier. I do not want to go home before thirty four stars fly from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Troops are arriving fast. They look upon us here as pioneers, having restored them to the civilized world. I will at some future time give you a detailed account of the place. We go into camp on Monday, when we expect to have a fine time. We may encamp at Georgetown two miles from the city. The drums are beating to quarters the light are going out, and you humble servant is going to sleep.
Yours, truly, A.A. Curtis.
The Families of the Volunteers.
There is a good deal of uncertainty and some anxiety about the mode in which the families of the soldiers of the militia and volunteer companies are to be sustained out of the volunteer funds, during the absence of the men. Money has been, and no doubt will be liberally contributed for this purpose; but some plan should be promulgated by which such of the wives and children of the absent soldiers as may need support, can be regularly supplied with funds. It may be that but a few of our gallant volunteers leave their families wholly unprovided for; but it would be a great consolation to those who have to do so to know that the dear ones they leave behind them will be taken care of, and their wants supplied with absolute certainty and as little inconvenience as possible.
Would it not be well to organize a General Distributing Committee for this purpose, with branch offices located in different districts of the city? The Colonel of every regiment might leave a copy of his roll with this committee before his departure and the families of such soldiers as may need support could thus obtain a regular weekly or monthly allowance upon application at the pay office of their district. Or, in cases where funds have been raised for particular regiments, the same plan might be carried out. But we think it is important that before any more troops leave the city some specific mode of distributing the funds for the maintenance of the families of the volunteers should be decided upon and publicly announced.
The Fort Reinforced. (Leavenworth, KS)
Companies E and F, Capts. Steele and Sully, arrived at the Fort, yesterday, from Kearney. There are about 170 men in the two companies, and Col. Miles is the commanding officer.
The volunteers from this city, stationed at the Fort, will now probably be relieved from duty there.
Facts in Regard to Fortress Monroe
We are indebted to the Norfolk Day Book for many of the following facts in regard to Fortress Monroe:
Fortress Monroe is a strongly fortified garrison situated on that point of land formed by the extreme western bank of the Chesapeake, that the extreme eastern bank of Hampton Roads, and at the junction of the two waters. It was discovered during the war of 1813-14, that Chesapeake Bay was the key to all the waters of Virginia and Maryland, and all who are at all familiar with the history of the country, will remember that British vessels came into Hampton Roads and not only took the town of Hampton, but threatened to apply the torch to Norfolk, that phoenix like, had sprung from the ashes of a former war with that power. Peace was declared in 1815, and when the next Congress met they took into consideration the subject of coast and harbor defences; accordingly a board of engineers was appointed, and an appropriation made for the prosecution of such plans as might be decided upon. About this time the grand army of Napoleon was quiet, and several of his principal officers had made our republican country their home; among them was General Bernard, an experienced soldier, and one of the most skillful engineers then existing. He was accordingly invited to assist in the work of arranging our system of coast and harbor defence, and in 1816, in company with several American officers, projected Fortress Monroe and Fort Calhoun, more generally known as the “Rip Raps.” The work was laid off and both forts commenced in 1819. From that time to this there has been more or less work going on at Fort Monroe, and while that work is sufficiently advanced to be placed in a state of defence, it is far from being finished. The extent of the work may be judged from the fact that it is over a mile around the ramparts; the wall covers a space of twenty or twenty-five acres, and there are about fifteen acres inside of the garrison. Besides the houses given in the rough cut above, there are store houses, work shops, (not used now,) a laboratory, an office, and several unimportant buildings.
The casemates commence in the vicinity of the postern, behind the water battery, and extend, with little intermission, to the arched doorway, designated above as the main entrance, on either side of that entrance are casemates which are used as quarters for the officer of the day, guard house and barracks for the guard. Those nearest the port cullis have embrasures which are intended to protect that point from attack. Indeed all the casemates are supplied with embrasures, behind which are mounted 42 pounders. On the ramparts, at those points where there are no casemates, are mounted guns, upon wooden carriages, whose saucy looking muzzles are plainly to be seen above the green turf that caps the fortification. At the extreme Southern bastion floats the stars and stripes, while just below it on the inside of the garrison, is a neat little Episcopal Church where the Chaplain, Mr. Cheevers, still continues to offer up his prayers for the Union and its President. —A deep moat surrounds the whole work; this moat is supplied with water from Mill Creek, and, while the gates are open, ebbs and flows with the tide.
The Water Battery, like all the masonry on this fort, is a beautiful piece of work; it is built of stone, and is sufficiently thick to withstand any shot that can be projected against it from the bay beyond. It is finished with casemates, the arches of which are turned with brick, and rest upon granite columns in the rear. This battery has forty-two embrasures, and is supplies with a like number of 42 pounders, which, like all the rest of the guns in the garrison, are fully mounted and ready for action. It covers all that face of the garrison that fronts upon the channel of the bay, and is only intended as a means of offence and defence when attacked by a force on the water. This portion of the work, like the ramparts, is covered with a green turf, and presents a beautiful and pleasant promenade in the summer afternoons. At the upper or northern extremity of this battery commences a redoubt or breastwork that extends around to the point of that bastion in which the magazine is situated; in the middle of this redoubt is a sally-port or postern that leads out to an outer work (not yet finished) that is intended to protect the fort from the land side. From the Water Battery to the Magazine is decidedly the weakest portion of this fortress, and a well organized force of one thousand men could readily carry the fortification at this point. Besides the fact that there are no casemate guns on these two faces, the gates that supply the moat with water are on this side, and at the low tide, might be closed to prevent the water from coming in on the change of the tide, and thus could a land force reduce the draught of water to such an extent as to enable them to wade across and scale the walls; which , of course, could only be done under a murderous fire.—the gun from only one shoulder could be brought to bear upon the scaling party, and that one, or even two would be so depressed as to render its effect doubtful. Besides this, a storming party could reduce the garrison to submission in a short while, unless the elements conspired to furnish them water, for there is not a spring, or a well, or a pump on the work; but, like the good people of Norfolk, the soldiers at Old Point have to depend on the clouds for their drink, (except when they drink whiskey, and then they depend upon their own ingenuity.)
We were led into the above remarks, because of the fact that Fortress Monroe is considered impregnable, but such is not the fact; it lacks much of it as it now stands, and even if it was completed, we give our idea of the work, when we remind our readers that Sebastopol and Gibraltar fell before a resolute enemy.
As no fortification is impregnable to a well appointed army of resolute and determined men, the question of reducing Fortress Monroe is one to be determined by the wisdom and judgment of the civil and military authorities of the Confederate States; taking into consideration the necessary loss of life that must ensue in its successful capture. Upon this point we venture no opinion, leaving it to the wisdom and discretion of President Davis and his able officers in command of the State and Confederate forces.
The garrison at Fortress Monroe is, doubtless, very large and well appointed at this time, with the capacity, on the part of the United States authorities, to increase it to a larger amount.
We have no idea that the reports as to the number of troops now at Fortress Monroe, variously estimated at from three to five thousand, are correct. But that a large and strong garrison is now within the fort we have no doubt.
Commanding the entrance of Hampton Roads, it its guns effectually blockade the James and Elizabeth rivers, stopping all vessels bound either to or from Richmond, Petersburg or Norfolk. Great annoyance is thus given to the trade of Virginia and North Carolina; but as the same blockade could be made by vessels of war, within or without the Capes, it may be a question with the authorities whether Fortress Monroe should be reduced by investment or conquered by forcing the capitulation of Washington city.
The disorganized, riotous horde of Northern mercenaries that now disgrace Washington City, with no general to command them, with no discipline to control their turbulence, would evacuate before our army under the gallant Lee. The people are eager for this enterprise, the army are impatient to be led against the vandal hordes that are now destroying all that was once so beautiful in and around Washington. But bravery, courage and daring, though necessary to every army, are not the only requisites. The commander in chief has a wider scope of vision than is permitted to any one else; he must determine that which is best for the army which he is to command, as well as for the State who has entrusted him with so much power and responsibility.
We would advise all persons to quietly await the orders of Gen. Lee. A feeling of confidence and security pervades the State.
The justice of our cause, the firmness of our purpose, the strength of our arms, or reliance upon the God of battles, will give us the victory, whether the field be before Fortress Monroe or Washington City.
(Baton Rouge, LA)
Hurrah for the Printers.
Mr. Lowe, the efficient publisher, and talented sub-editor of the Gazette, left our office and has gone to the wars with the Shreveport Grays. Mr. Lucius Gage, an excellent printer, joined the Caddo Rifles and has deserted us also. As much as we regret the loss of such worthy men, still we are proud of the fact that the Gazette office has shown such a patriotic spirit.—Caddo Gazette.
We venture the assertion that there is scarcely an organized company in the State that has not two or three printers in it. Three hands out of this office have gone with the Pelican Rifles; another goes with the Delta Rifles of West Baton Rouge. There are two other members of the craft in the latter company. One of them, Mr. John McGrath, was in Nicaraugua with Walker, and was in all Walker’s engagements, including the siege of Rivas.
Steam Craft and Privateers
The telegraph advises us that LINCOLN is chartering and arming any quantity of steam craft. So much the more urgent necessity for our getting privateers afloat. Any quantity of steam craft can be chartered in Europe, and armed and manned as privateers, those chartering giving insurance. Fifty steam privateers could be fitted out in Great Britain in two or three months, and a portion of them much sooner.
Our Montgomery Correspondence.
MONTGOMERY, April 26, 1861.
The blockade of the ports of the Confederate States, proclaimed by President LINCOLN in his late Proclamation, will certainly be followed by a recommendation, by the President of the Confederate States to the Congress to meet Monday next, to acknowledge the existence of the war against the Confederate States, and to enter upon it accordingly. As it might be feared, this war is regularly blundered into. The vacillating counsels of Virginia has produced it. Whereas, had she acted promptly with the Confederate States, she would have prevented it. If you will remember, until the proposal to secede from the Union was rejected in the Convention of Virginia by a vote of two-thirds, the Washington Government was very hesitating and conciliating. The communications to the Commissioners of the Confederate States were of the most peaceful character. But as soon as that vote took place there was an immediate change of policy. They thought Virginia, and with her the Border States, were safe for the cause of the North. Military preparations immediately commenced; and it was determined to assail the seven Confederate States, and reduce them to subjection. Hence reinforcements were sent to Charleston. They never expected the Border States to leave them, much less to turn round their fiercest enemies. If they could they would now retract, but they cannot. Neither the war feeling raised in the North or South will permit it; and thus a mistake as to the feelings and position of Virginia and the other frontier States produces this war. Virginia, however, is nobly atoning for her error. She has moved with great decision in her measures to protect her soil; and having adopted the Permanent Constitution of the Confederate States, she will be represented next week in the Southern Congress. Tennessee and North Carolina will also, in all probability, be represented; and thus, the States which will have, in all probability, the chief brunt of the war to bear, will be parties to its declaration. Kentucky and Missouri are badly armed, and will linger awhile; but the appearance of troops at Cairo will soon awake up the spirit of that martial people. The effort to subdue the fifteen Slave States of the South will, of course, fail; and it will accomplish that most desirable of all results—the formation of a Slaveholding Confederacy. War, it is to be hoped, will raise such an antagonism between the Slave States and the Free States as to end this peril.
Message of President Davis.
LATEST by TELEGRAPH.
MONTGOMERY, April 29. Congress met at noon today.
President DAVIS’ Message was read, announcing the ratification of the Permanent Constitution by all of the Confederate States, and that it only remained that an election be held for the designation of officers to administer it. He says the declaration of war has been laid against this Confederacy by ABRAHAM LINCOLN, which rendered it necessary for the defence of the country.
The President then reviews at length the relations heretofore existing between the states, and events which have resulted in the present warfare. Referring to the result of the mission of the Commissioners to Washington, he says the crooked paths of diplomacy can scarcely furnish an example so wanting in courtesy, in candor, and in directness, as was the course of the United States’ Government towards our Commissioners.
The President incidentally refers to the prudent caution observed by the fleet off Charleston during the bombardment of Fort Sumter, and pays a high compliment to the Carolinians for their forbearance before, heroism during, and magnanimity after, the bombardment.
He says Commissioners have been sent to England, France, Russia and Belgium, to ask our recognition as a member of the Family of Nations, and make treaties of amity and commerce. He recommends the appointment of other diplomatic agents.
He says the Confederacy, through Vice-President STEPHENS, has concluded a Convention with Virginia, by which she has united her power and fortunes with ours. He has satisfactory assurances that other Southern States will soon unite their fortunes with us.
He says most of the Executive Departments are in successful operation. The Postmaster General will soon be ready to assume the direction of postal affairs.
In conclusion, he congratulates the Confederacy on the patriotism and devotion exhibited by the people of the Confederacy. Men of high official and social positions and wealth have been serving as volunteers in the ranks. The railway companies have been liberal in their rates of transporting troops and supplies, and proffer liberal terms for the transportation of the mails, and receive in compensation Bonds of the Confederacy. He says a people thus united and resolved cannot fail in final success. We feel that our cause is just and holy, and protest solemnly in the face of mankind that we desire peace at any sacrifice, save that of honor and independence. We seek no conquest, no aggrandizement, no concessions from the Free States. All we ask is to be let alone; that none shall attempt our subjugation by arms. This we will, we must, resist to the direst extremity. The moment this pretension is abandoned, the sword will drop from our grasp, and we shall be ready to entertain treaties of amity and commerce mutually beneficial. So long as this pretension is maintained, with firm reliance on that Divine Power which coves with its protection the just cause, we will continue to struggle for our inherent right to freedom, independence and self-government.
Movements of the Southern Army.
From our Special Correspondent.
RICHMOND, VA., April 26.
I have just returned from a visit to the camp of Co. GREGG’S regiment of South Carolina Volunteers. Upon their arrival in the city they were first assigned quarters in a large and commodious though unfinished building, intended to be used as an alms house. Today, however, they marched over to the old State Fair grounds, and having taken possession of the whole enclosure, the area of which may be roughly estimated at ten acres square, they are now busy pitching their tents and otherwise making themselves comfortable. The grounds they occupy are excellently well suited for the purposes of encampment. A close high fence on every side, with but a single gateway, secures that privacy from intrusion which is so desirable. The enclosed space consists of a field of clover, now freshened by the breath of spring, divided into plans by several winding walks, and containing here and there, capacious sheds, which, by the addition of a little canvas, have been transformed into very serviceable kitchens, stables, etc. The tents of the several companies dotted every position of the field, and gave a picturesque appearance to the scene, while high above the encampment floated the glorious Palmetto Flag, which our gallant boys pledge, before they return, to make a sign of terror to the invader. A large number of ladies, generally accompanied by some of the gaily uniformed volunteers of Richmond, are continually visiting the camp of our South Carolinians, and during my visit, I noticed among those upon the ground, the wife and daughter of Governor LETCHER of this State. The worn and dingy uniforms of our men contrast a little strangely with the bright new trappings of the Virginians, but the ladies have not been slow to assign the difference to its true cause—long and faithful service upon the cheerless sand hills of Morris Island; and I have heard more than one enthusiastic Virginia, glancing wistfully at the torn and grimy clothes of those whom our State has sent, declare that they envied their brethren of South Carolina the possession of those tattered and smoke stained garments, which afforded so striking a testimony to the sacrifices and privations through which Fort Sumter has been wrested from the Northern Government.
As I quitted the encampment, night was approaching, and I had an opportunity of seeing how our men managed to get along in preparing a Virginia supper. The camp fires blazed cheerily in the middle of the of the camp, and all the paraphernalia of a well stocked kitchen was brought into requisition to cook the meal. I was glad to see fresh beef and all the accompanying substantials supplied in great abundance, and when the cooking was over and the messes spread their well filled dished upon the grass, the sight convinced me that our Palmetto troops were well cared for, and fully understood how to avail themselves of a soldier’s opportunities.
The Richardson Guard, Capt. AXSON (Company M of Col. GREGG’S command), are getting along bravely, and say that they only need a few copies of THE MERCURY to make them feel perfectly at home.
Exchange of Letters
BANKING OFFICE OF A. NICHOLAS & CO.
No. 70 Wall Street,
NEW YORK, 15th April, ‘61.
Col. J. M. McCUE,–Mt. Solon,–Dear Sir:–It is a long time since I had the pleasure of writing you of your health. I have been frequently informed by my friend Sibert who has been kind enough to advise me occasinally respecting Mt. Solon and yourself. We have in this city become highly excited by the news that Fort Sumter was fired into and taken by the troops of the Cotton States. The President’s message, calling first for 75,000 troops and then increasing the demand to 175,000, has produced a profound and deep impression that we are about entering into an awful performance, the end of which no man can tell. The only hope now is, that Va. will stand firm by the Union and hold all the border States to the same line of policy–if she does, our misguided South Carolina friends can soon be brought to reason–if she does not, but goes to swell the triumphal car of secession, God knows the end. The universal sentiment here is that if the Border States do go out, then the war must exterminate the cause which has created this contention. When I heard that South Carolina fired coolly and deliberately and wantonly upon our flag, I cried like a child, that our brothers should fire into us. If the men that did the deed could have seen the eyes that were dimmed, and the stout frames of strong men that shook when the news was received here, they would have wished that the earth had swallowed them up. The newspapers and office seekers have done their best to set the sections against each other. May God forgive them I can’t!–My Dear Sir, will Virginia secede? What is your opinion? Pray let me hear from you soon.
Yours, A. NICHOLAS.
MT. SOLON, 21st April, ‘61.
MR. A. NICHOLAS,–Dear Sir: Yours of the 15th inst., came to hand a few days ago. Circumstances that have occurred since, have more than answered one of the interrogatories you ask with so much apparent feeling, “Has Virginia seceded?” She has not only seceded, but has on this morning, an army in the field, to defend our rights and institutions, that will carry terror to the hearts of those who vauntingly boast that they will “exterminate the cause,” as you are pleased to term it, of all the difficulties between us. Could you, and the myrmidons of abolition, of agrarianism and all that is abominable in a free government, see, as I have had the opportunity within the past few days, the spirit of our people, your craven hearts would collapse within your cowardly carcasses. You who possess means to justify it, will send your hired mercenaries to overpower us, it may be. You may devastate our country, burn our towns, insult and abuse our women, but conquer us you can never do. When our brave and gallant sons are exterminated, if such could be, you will find our wives and daughters more than a match for all the Beechers, and Cheevers and Stowes and that damnable set that you have so long paid Court to, and encouraged, until you have brought this affliction upon the country.
You speak of our “institutions” being the cause of this war, and you will exterminate it forsooth. Let me tell you, sir, that it has been the misguided frenzy and folly and madness of your people, that has been the cause; and that people that has fattened and flourished upon the labor of this institution, and in your pharasaical and puritanical self-righteousness, after hoarding this wealth, would say to us, “stand aside, we are holier than thou,” and cannot live under the same government with you. Let me say to you, sir, that the men of New York and New England who, in the war of 1812, could stand by with folded hands and see the flag of their country trailed and trampled in the dust, and convene themselves into a Hartford convention, and refuse to furnish men and means to defend their country and that flag from an insolent foreign foe, can with a very bad grace now shed tears, as you say you did, when you heard that flag was fired upon at Fort Sumter. Your damnable hypocrisy makes my blood boil, and in spite of myself, makes me pray that we may have the earnestly hoped for opportunity of meeting you in sight of the Potomac, and all those who, like you, have been shedding those crocodile tears, and there testing, in the sight of the ashes of the Father of his Country, your sincerity in defending that flag. But permit me to say, sir, that you will not be there. You, and those who think like you, will send as your personal representatives, the miserable mercenary foreigners, that you can gather up in your cities at $10 per month to do your fighting. Would to God it were otherwise, and we could meet you all in person, and your boasted Seventh Regiment besides, who have warmed at our firesides, slept under our roofs, shared our hospitality, and when it was in your interest to do so, have preached up your conservatism. But enough, sir, I have not patience to say more. In the hope I may meet you at Washington, (what I do not expect,) I am, sir, yours.
J. MARSHALL McCUE.
Diary of a Yankee in the Patent Office
by Horatio Nelson Taft
TUESDAY 30 —Prest Lincoln was at the Pat office today to see the troops in their quarters. Gov Seward was with him. Julia presented a fine Boquet of flowers to Gov Sprague at his quarters in the Pat office. The office is a greater novelty now than ever before but the soldiers are very orderly and inteligent. There is not much work done now by the examrs. There is so much confusion. Troops continue to arrive in the City by the thousands every day. Regiments are constantly on parade. Wrote to Bro C R today.
A Rebel War Clerk’s Diary
by John Beauchamp Jones
APRIL 30th.—Gen. Kearney has been brought here, having been taken on his way to Washington from Missouri. He manifested surprise at his captivity, and says that he is no enemy; being, I believe, Southern born. I learn it is the purpose of the governor to release him. And this may be a blunder. I fear about as much from ill-timed Southern magnanimity as from Northern malignity.
The Pawnee “scare” turned out just as I thought it would. She merely turned her nose up the river, and then put about and steamed away again. It may do good, however, if it stimulates the authorities to due preparation against future assaults from that quarter.
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