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The Civil War in America

The Illustrated London News, vol. 38, no. 1096, pp. 601-602.

June 29, 1861


We have received New York and Boston papers to the 15th inst., and telegrams from St. John's, Newfoundland, to the 18th.


At sea the blockade has been rigidly maintained off New Orleans, and ships of all nations warned off. A telegram from the South announces that the blockading steamer Brooklyn was ashore at the mouth of the river. The New Orleans Picayune of the 9th inst. reports the arrival off the bar of 1500 Federal troops, in two transports. The first privateer captured by the Federal fleet had arrived at New York. The Charleston Mercury of the 6th reports the capture by a privateer, off Georgetown, of a Main brig, valued at 40,000 dollars.

On land the chief events are two—the evacuation of Harper's Ferry by the Confederates, and the check received by the Federals in an attack on a Confederate battery at Great Bethel, a country village on the road leading from Hampton to Yorktown, about midway between James and York Rivers. The former movement was rendered necessary by the approach of the Federals from the east, north, and west. All the Government property was destroyed before the evacuation. The Confederates have now abandoned the line of the Potomac, and concentrated their troops for the defence of Richmond and the line of the James River. Their most advanced position is their intrenched camp at Manassas Gap Junction.

The attack on the battery at Great Bethel was made on the 10th inst. It was intended to be a nocturnal surprise, but Colonel Bendix's German regiment misunderstood the signal and fired in the dark on the Albany regiment, which returned the compliment. This accident, besides causing several casualties, aroused the Confederates. After two hours' fighting the Federals retired. The most authentic report of their loss places it at 19 killed, 47 wounded, and 5 missing. Among the former are a Major and a Lieutenant of the Regulars. General Pierce was much censured for losing "his presence of mind" during the action.

The march of General M'Lellan in command of the loyal Virginian, Ohio, and Indiana, troops through Western Virginia has been uninterrupted. He has crossed the Alleghanies [sic] and the Blue Ridge, and has made Cumberland, the chief town of Western Maryland, his head-quarters. In Western Virginia the Stars and Stripes are everywhere in the ascendant.

General Prentiss, in command of the Federal forces at Cairo, Illinois, having heard that the Kentucky Militia had established a camp at a point in Kentucky, ten miles south of Cairo, sent ten companies to dislodge them, which they effected, the Kentuckians fleeing.


The seat of Government has been removed from Montgomery, Alabama, to Richmond, Virginia. President Davis daily reviews the troops.

In Tennessee the vote on the Secession ordinance was taken on the 8th inst. In Western and Central Tennessee the vote was nearly unanimous for Secession, but in Eastern Tennessee (the highland region) 10,000 votes were cast in favour of the Union.

Upwards of 700 slaves have escaped from Virginia during the past two weeks, and are now held by the Federal forces as contraband of war.

The New Orleans journals continue to be received in St. Louis, notwithstanding the stoppage of the mails. All the reports from the South concur in representing the crops of wheat, maize, and cotton as unusually promising.


The Maryland Legislature has instructed the senators to Congress from that State to vote for the recognition of the Southern Confederacy. General Banks, of Massachusetts, has superseded General Cadwallader in command at Baltimore.

The Governor of Kentucky has protested against the action of the Federal troops in invading that State, as mentioned above. The United States' collector at Louisville reports that the passage of provisions southward from that place has been stopped, but that the trade is still going on from Bardstown and Bowling Green, in the southern part of the State.

On the 11th Governor Jackson, of Missouri, demanded of General Lyon the disbanding and withdrawal of the Federal forces in Missouri, which being done, the State militia was to be disbanded. General Lyon refused. The Governor then issued a proclamation calling for 50,000 State troops to resist Federal usurpation. The State officers have abandoned the capital, Jefferson City, and are concentrating their forces at Arrow Rock, a point fifty miles north-west of Jefferson City. General Lyon is in pursuit of them, and a serious conflict seems imminent. There has been another collision between the Federal volunteers and the people in St. Louis.

In Western Virginia the Convention at Wheeling have unanimously resolved to form a Provisional Government, declare the State offices vacant, and elect Union members of Congress. They have passed resolutions thanking General M'Lellan for sending troops to the assistance of the Western Virginians.

The Secretary of War has issued a notice ordering the employment of female instead of male nurses in the military hospitals.

The examination of the seized telegrams at Washington reveals the fact that James K. Harvey, the newly-appointed Minister to Portugal, and supposed to be a zealous Republican, had sent to Charleston the first intelligence of the intended naval expedition for the relief of Fort Sumter. Mr. Harvey has been recalled.


The Board of Underwriters, New York, have advanced the rates of war policies on American ships to seven per cent, making a discrimination in favour of foreign nations of five per cent. The effect of this will be to throw American bottoms out of the market.

Massachusetts has accepted 190 companies, all containing 101 men each.

The western grain crops are doing well, but not so much has been planted this year as last, owing to the diversion of agricultural labour to the war. All branches of trade in the Atlantic cities, except the export-trade and those connected with the supply of war materiel, are suffering extremely, and the merchants are on the eve of bankruptcy. There is no diminution in the enthusiasm for the war and the absurd ill-feeling towards England.


Three Sketches by our Special Artist in connection with the war doings in America are engraved in the present Number. On page 602 is depicted a characteristic group of "Wilson's Boys" encamped at Staten Island. "This corps," he writes, "might properly be styled the 'Chevalier Guard,' being composed principally of the chevaliers d'industrie of New York: they have no regular uniform yet, though I do not know but what their present costume is the most picturesque. The other day when their Colonel dismissed them from parade he took out his watch, and, looking at it, said suggestively to his men, 'This is the kind of watch they have in Baltimore boys.' This announcement was hailed by enthusiastic cheering." On the same page we have a representation of "Our Artist's Head-quarters in the Camp of the 2nd New York Regiment," situated on the high grounds near Washington. An Engraving of "Our Artist's Kitchen" in the same camp, which appears on the first page, shows, we are happy to see, that he is able, amid the fears and anxieties consequent on a campaigning life, to attend in some degree to his creature comforts. The Union forces occupying positions near Washington have been estimated at 60,000. Scott has from 15,000 to 20,000 men across the river, opposite Washington, posted between Alexandria and Arlington Heights.

Page 602

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The Civil War in America. Some of "Wilson's Boys" in Wooden Camp at Staten Island.—From a Sketch by our Special Artist.

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"My Head-Quarters in the Camp of the 2nd New York Regiment."—From a Sketch by our Special Artist.

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