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The Illustrated London News, vol. 38, no. 1088, p. 432.

May 11, 1861


The latest news from America is of a most serious character. The hostile feeling between the contending States is daily becoming more intense, and there is no longer any hopes of averting a civil war of a desperate nature.

Washington was in danger of falling into the hands of the Secessionists, six thousand of whom were in the neighbourhood threatening an attack. The Government had thrown up defences around the principal public buildings, and large bodies of troops were being dispatched to its defence from New York. Four New York regiments have arrived at Washington. The telegraphic communication between New York and Washington had been cut off by the order of the Government in order to prevent their plans from being made too soon public. The Governor of New York has made a call for twenty-one additional regiments. A mass meeting in support of the Government was held at New York on the 22nd ult. It was a demonstration such as was never previously equalled in the history of the United States. A committee of twenty-five was appointed to collect funds and to transact other necessary business. In many places the municipalities are voluntarily taxing themselves, and many wealthy individuals are making liberal contributions towards defraying the expenses of the war.

In all the Northern and Western States the most enthusiastic resolution to support President Lincoln is manifested. New York rings with the noise of armaments, every effort being made to forward troops to Washington, and to provide vessels for their conveyance for the defence of northern commerce, and for the blockade of the southern ports. In Boston, too, the utmost efforts are made to fit out a squadron at the Navy Yard, and to supply men and stores for the service of the Union.

The people of Kentucky are said to have declared their resolution to remain neutral; and in Missouri, although the Governor refused to supply the regiments demanded by President Lincoln, volunteers are freely enlisting in St Louis for the service of the Washington Government. The Governor of Delaware has responded to President Lincoln's call for troops.

In Texas warlike preparations are actively progressing, and it is said that the remaining United States' troops will not be permitted to depart, but will be detained as prisoners of war. It is asserted that a steamer, named the Matagorda, has been armed by the Texans, and has gone to sea for the purpose of intercepting the Aspinwall and New York steamer, which probably has a freight of some two million dollars in gold.

The steam-ship Star of the West, which was lately chartered by the Washington Government as a transport, has been captured by the Southerners, and carried into a southern port. Some rumours allege that several southern privateers have sailed, or are about to put to sea; but, on the other hand, it is affirmed that President Jefferson Davis had determined not to issue letters of marque before the 1st of May, the day fixed for the meeting of the Southern Congress.

The United States' Navy Yard at Gosport, in Norfolk harbour, and eleven men-of-war lying there in ordinary, have been burned by the Federal officers, who destroyed them in order to prevent the ships and stores from falling into the hands of the Virginia Secessionists. Among the ships destroyed are a three-decker, two two-deckers, two large sailing-frigates, and the large steam-frigate Merrimac.

Maryland we may now presume will join the Secessionists. Baltimore is described as being in the hands of the mob, and a reign of terror in the ascendant. All the railway bridges between Philadelphia and Baltimore have been burned by the people of Maryland.

From Virginia comes a report, among others, that an attack on Fort Monroe (of which we shall give an Engraving next week) was contemplated.

Fort Smith, in Arkansas, has been taken by the State troops. The Confederate flag has been hoisted on the fort.

Altogether the state of affairs in the Republic presents a most gloomy and painful picture.

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