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The Civil War in America

The Illustrated London News, vol. 38, no. 1094, p. 568.

June 22, 1861


The midweek mail not having arrived at the time we went to press with our country edition, our intelligence from New York is no later than to the 5th instant.


On sea a United States' ship of war sealed up Mobile on the 27th ult., and the blockading squadron at New Orleans has captured several merchant vessels owned in the South, including a barque from Rio Janeiro [sic] with 120,000 dollars' worth of coffee.

On the Potomac River the engagement between two armed vessels of the United States and a land battery of the Confederates at Acquia Creek was resumed on the 1st inst. The land batteries were silenced with the exception of one rifled cannon. The flotilla had only one man wounded. The loss of the enemy is unknown; but several dead and wounded were seen to be removed from the batteries.

The Confederate forces still occupy Harper's Ferry and Manassas Gap Junction. At the former station they are suffering from smallpox and diarrhoea. No further advance has been made in the direction of Norfolk by General Butler. Many of his late reinforcem[e]nts are destitute of arms, and his Commissariat is very badly served. Hence his troops have taken to foraging for themselves, and much damage has been done to private property in the neighbourhood of Fort Monroe.

The most important movement of the Federal forces since our last publication has been the advance of General M'Lellan in North-Western Virginia at the head of the loyal Virginian and Ohio troops. In his address to the people of Western Virginia he promises protection to their property, and not only that, but also that he "will crush with an iron hand any attempt at insurrection" on the part of the slaves. On the night of the 2nd inst., during a drenching rain, he pushed forward two regiments from Grafton to Philippa, a little town in Barbour County, twenty miles south of Grafton, and surprised a camp of Confederates there, 200 strong. The enemy were routed with a loss of fifteen killed and a large amount of arms, ammunition, horses, camp equipage, &c. The Federals were continuing the pursuit. The only casualty on the part of the latter was the wounding, but not mortally, of Colonel Kelly, of the 1st Virginian Volunteers. The Ohio regiments are received enthusiastically by the people of trans-Alleghanian [sic] Virginia.

The only adventure of the Federal army in the centre of Virginia has been a foray of cavalry into Fairfax Courthouse. They retired with a loss of six men. Hearing that two of the captured were to be hanged by the Confederates, the Federalists made another charge into the town and rescued their comrades.


President Davis, accompanied by Secretary Toombs, Colonel Wigfall, and Mr. Todd, brother of Mrs. President Lincoln (who is an ardent champion of Southern independence), left Montgomery on Sunday, the 26th ult., en route for Richmond, the capital of Virginia. Mr. Davis, being in a weak state of health, was desirous of making his journey to the North as private as possible, but he was frustrated in this by the enthusiasm of the people, who insisted on his showing himself at each station. Loud calls were then made for Toombs and Wigfall, who were compelled to humour the crowd with speeches. On arriving at Richmond the Southern President was treated to a public reception, and in a short, warlike speech complimented his hearers by assuring them they were "the last, best hope of liberty."

The new low tariff of the Confederacy has been published. Although while the blockade lasts it is a nullity, it may be interesting to note what terms the new Government offers to European commerce. Articles of European manufacture are admitted at a duty of 15 per cent ad valorem. Books and magazines at 10 per cent. This is much lower than the "Morrill" tariff which now prevails in the United States.

The price of provisions and clothing continues to rise. At Richmond the clothing stores are exhausted of their stocks, and must henceforth rely on the small domestic factories, which cannot nearly supply the demand. Paper is getting so scarce that Southern newspapers are being curtailed in size, and will soon have to stop altogether unless a home manufacture of paper can be forthwith created. Coin is so scarce that Mr. W.H. Russell mentions the case of a New Orleans gentleman who, wanting 1600 dols. for travelling purposes, was obliged to give therefore, in addition to his note, the collateral security of 10,000 dols. worth of the new Confederate Stock.

General Beauregard has gone to Tennessee to organise the forces at Memphis, and attend to the defence of the lower Mississippi.


Roger B. Taney, of Maryland, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, has decided in the case of Merriman that the President has no power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, much less to delegate that power to any military officer. The judgment, which is both long and important, concludes thus:—

I can only say that, if the authority which the Constitution has confided to the Judiciary Department and judicial officers may thus, upon any pretext and under any circumstances, be usurped by the military power at its discretion, the people of the United States are no longer living under a Government of laws, but every citizen holds life, liberty, and property at the will and pleasure of the army-officer in whose military district he may happen to be found. In such a case my duty was too plain to be mistaken. I have exercised all the power which the Constitution and laws confer on me, but that power has been resisted by a force too strong for me to overcome. I shall order all the proceedings in this case, with my opinion, to be filed and recorded, and direct the clerk to transmit a copy to the President of the United States. It will then remain for that high officer, in fulfilment of his constitutional obligation, to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, to determine what measures he will take to cause the civil process of the United States to be respected and enforced.

The Northern journals are indignant at this decision, denounce the Chief Justice as a traitor, and call upon the President to disregard the judgment of the Court.

As large quantities of provisions were moving southward along the Kentucky railroads, the people of the North-west will allow no more to be sent into Kentucky than are sufficient for her domestic wants.

In Missouri General Harney has been replaced in the command of the Federal forces in that State by General Lyon, a thorough-going anti-Secessionist.


Senator Douglas, of Illinois, the leader of the Northern Democrats, died in Chicago on the 3rd inst. He had but just completed his forty-eighth year. His death at this juncture is much deplored by the Northerners of all parties, and has called forth many manifestations of public mourning.

The New York 7th Regiment returned to that city on the 1st inst. The Highland Guard left for Washington on the following day. The British legion has been broken up by the authorities of the State of New York, and its best-drilled companies incorporated with the 30th Regiment. This step was taken in consequence of the anti-British feeling rife in New York, roused by the tone of the English journals and English statesmen.

Many of the Northern States are in the money market for loans for war purposes.

The New York Tribune is an honourable exception to the mass of its contemporaries in refusing to indulge in foolish and wicked tirades against England. In its issue of the 4th inst. it says:—

The tone of the debate in the House of Lords, and of European official utterances generally, is marked by eminent dignity, moderation, and anxiety to give no just cause of offence to our Government and people. Has this evident desire to maintain amicable relations with us been fairly met on this side of the water? We think not. In many quarters a disposition to take offense at trifles and aggravate slight differences into causes of serious quarrel has been manifested. . . . The doctrine that a Government in fact is to be regarded as a Government of right is emphatically of American origin. Up to this year we have steadfastly commended and adhered to it. We cannot creditably repudiate it at the very first instance in which it is brought to bear on ourselves.

The Tribune defends Lord John Russell, and admits that had the Irish people driven out the British Government from Ireland, and organised an independent Government, the Irish would have been at once recognised by the Government and people of the United States, not merely as belligerents, but as an independent nation.

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