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The Civil War in America

The Illustrated London News, vol.39, no. 1105, p. 208-209.

August 31,1861

By the United States' steamer Fulton we have received New York journals of the 17th inst.


The war which languishes in Virginia continues active in Southern Missouri. On the 10th inst. General Lyon, with about 5500 Federals, well armed and provided with artillery, attacked, nine miles south-east of Springfield, a force of the enemy greatly superior in numbers, but inferior in weapons and artillery, and consisting of troops from Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and of Cherokee Indians, drove them from their intrenchments, and set fire to all their tents and baggage-waggons. General Lyon was killed early in the fight, and the command devolved on General Siegel (a German by birth, who has seen service in Europe). General Siegel, fearing for his communications, retreated the next day to Rolla, a station on the south-western branch of the Missouri and Pacific Railroad. In his retreat General Siegel left behind him three guns, which he spiked and the carriages of which he destroyed. The Federals, who at first claimed a victory, now only regard it as a drawn battle. The loss of the Federals is set down at from 800 to half that number. The loss of the Confederates is unknown. Ninety prisoners were taken by the former.

The report of this engagement caused so much excitement among the people of St. Louis, where opinion is about equally divided between the two parties, that General Fremont proclaimed that city in a state of siege and "effected a loan" of 250,000 dollars from the banks.

The inefficiency of the blockade is loudly complained of by the Northerners. The Southern privateers are heard of everywhere on the coast of South America. The Secretary of the Navy is chartering or purchasing vessels, and contracting for the building of gun-boats, so as to render the blockade really efficient.


The idleness of the army of the Potomac has bred a mutinous spirit. The 79th (Highland) Regiment, the 2nd Maine Regiment, and portions of several others, have revolted, and been forced to lay down their arms. The ringleaders are under arrest, and will be banished to the Tortugas group of islands. Desertions are numerous. The New York Fire Zouave Regiment has melted away and been disbanded. The reasons given for this conduct are dissatisfaction with their officers and indisposition to serve three years.


This officer has at length made a report on the battle of Bull Run which is commendable for its truthful and umbombastic character. After describing the now well-known features of this battle, and the loss in killed and wounded, he says:—

The return of the missing is very inaccurate, the men supposed to be missing having fallen into other regiments, and gone to Washington—many of the Zouaves to New York.

The causes of the defeat are stated to be the unavoidable delay in marching forward, arising from the tardy movements of the troops and the inefficient supply of ammunition and subsistence waggons. The movement, which should have commenced on the 8th, was postponed till the 16th. The disorder of the waggon-managers caused the delay of another day. The troops took two days instead of one to march thirteen miles, and the regimental and division officers insisted that the troops could not do better. These delays gave the enemy four days' notice of the attack.

In estimating (says the General) the force to go against Manassas I engaged not to have to do with the enemy's forces under Johnston, then kept in check by General Patterson. This was not done, and the enemy was free to assemble from every direction in numbers only limited by the amount of his railroad rolling stock and his supply of provisions. I could not, as I have said, more early push on faster, nor could I delay. A large, and the best, part of my forces were three months volunteers, whose term of service was about to expire, but who were sent forward as having long enough to serve for the purpose of the expedition. On the eve of the battle the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment of Volunteers, and the battery of Volunteer Artillery of the New York 8th Militia, whose tern of service expired, insisted on their discharge. I wrote to the regiment, expressing a request for them to remain a short time, and the Hon. Secretary of War, who was at the time on the ground, tried to induce the battery to remain at least five days. But in vain. They insisted on their discharge that night. It was granted, and the next morning, when the army moved forward into battle, these troops moved to the rear to the sound of the enemy's cannon. In the next few days, day by day, I should have lost 10,000 of the best armed, drilled, officered, and disciplined troops in the army. In other words, every day which added to the strength of the enemy made us weaker.

The object of the advance is declared to have been

that of getting to the railroad leading from Manassas to the Valley of Virginia, and going on it far enough to break up and destroy the communication, and interpose between the forces under Beauregard and those under Johnston; and, could we have fought a day or a few hours sooner, there is everything to show how we could have continued successful, even against the odds with which we contended.

The report of the Commissary-General avers that three days' provisions were served out to the divisional head-quarters on the day before the fight, but that many of the soldiers threw their knapsacks away before going into battle, while the Commissaries of some regiments neglected to send for their quotas to the divisional dépôts. This accounts for the want of food of which the troops have since so much complained.


The Secretary of the Treasury has succeeded in negotiating 50,000,000 dollars of the national loan with the New York, Boston, and Philadelphia banks. The former city furnishes three-fifths, Boston three-tenths, and Philadelphia one-tenth of the whole. The banks refused to touch the 6 and 7 per cent bonds, and preferred the 7 3-10 per cent Treasury notes. They made rather hard terms with Secretary Chase. He agrees not to avail himself of his right to issue the 6 and 7 per cent bonds. The interest is to run on the loan from Aug. 15, although the loan is only to be drawn from the banks by degrees and as it [is] wanted. The 12,000,000 of Treasury notes already issued are to be accepted in part payment of the loan; so that, in fact, the banks only advance 38,000,000 dollars. They have secured the privilege of taking 100,000,000 dollars more on the same terms as the foregoing. On the other hand, Mr. Chase is allowed to accept tenders from the public for the national loan, and to issue Treasury notes payable on demand. This last stipulation was only carried after considerable opposition from some of the banks. Stocks have risen as a consequence of this negotiation, and Mr. Chase has returned to Washington. He declared to the assembled bankers that his expenditure amounted to one million dollars a day.


Secretary Cameron, in reply to the letter of General Butler, says that slaves escaping from loyal masters in the Seceded States may be detained and set to work. "Upon the return of peace Congress will doubtless properly provide for all the persons it has received into the service of the Union, and for a just compensation to loyal masters." But the slaves of peaceful citizens are not to be enticed away, nor is the voluntary return of any fugitive to be hindered, except where inconsistent with the public good.


Mr. Lincoln has issued proclamations for a national fast and humiliation on the last Thursday in September, and for prohibiting all intercourse between the United and Confederate States. This, if enforced, will put a stop to the intercourse which has been hitherto maintained through the State of Kentucky.


Prince Napoleon has visited the Southern army at Manassas, sleeping one night there with General Johnston. Mr. Seward made no objection to this visit; but it was eyed unfavourably by Northern public opinion. He reports that both armies are undisciplined, and that the result of the next battle will depend on an accident. The Prince has returned to New York, and was about to set out on his Western tour.

Major-General Wool, the oldest officer in the United States' service next to General Scott, has been ordered to Fort Monroe to supersede

Page 209

General Butler, a Massachusetts lawyer, in command of that post. This appointment gives universal satisfaction.

Purcell M'Quillan, the incarcerated British subject, whom the Commander of Fort Lafayette refused to bring into court on a writ of habeas corpus, has been released by the Secretary of War in consequence of the intervention of Lord Lyons.

A Mr. Serrill, passenger to New York on board the Persia, who boasted that he had effected a loan in behalf of the Confederate States in England, was searched on his arrival in port, and £10,000 in Bank of England notes were discovered, concealed in a belt about his waist.

But the most important arrest that has yet been made is that of Mr. Faulkner, of Virginia, the late United States' Minister to France. Mr. Faulkner went to Washington to pay the usual visit of courtesy to the Foreign Secretary, and was thereupon arrested on a charge of treason, for acts committed at Paris, in purchasing arms for the Confederates while representing the United States, and endeavouring to procure the recognition of the Southern Confederacy by the Government of France.

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