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The Civil War in America

The Illustrated London News, vol.39, no. 1106, p. 233.

September 7,1861

By the arrival of the Nova Scotiau [sic] at Londonderry, from Quebec, we have intelligence from New York to the 23rd ult.


There has been another panic, real or pretended, among the military authorities at Washington, caused by a rumoured intended crossing of the Potomac by the enemy below Washington, and an advance upon the capital. It was said that there was a fleet of launches and flat boats near Acquia Creek, which were to be used in transporting Confederate troops across the river. The Governors of ten States were telegraphed to send on immediately whatever troops they had, whether equipped, armed, or uniformed, or not, in squads or companies, as the case might be. These messages caused great alarm in the North, and possibly stimulated the recruiting business. The apprehended attack was, however, never made, and the transport fleet vanished into thin air.

There have been some more manifestations of an insubordinate spirit among two New York Regiments of the army of the Potomac—manifestations which were suppressed with General M'Clellan's usual vigour.

In Missouri there have been two skirmishes favourable to the Federalists. The town of Commerce in the south-eastern portion of that State has been taken and retaken, and a Federal steamer plying on the Mississippi fired into and sunk. General M'Culloch was not killed in the engagement of Dug Spring, as reported by the Federals.

In the territory of New Mexico the Confederates have been active; 1500 of these have compelled the surrender of Major Lynd and a regiment of Federal troops garrisoning Fort Fillmore.

The privateer Sumter, though often reported captured, was still at liberty off Laguayara, Venezuela. The Venezuelan Government refused her admittance into port, and had sent a vessel to retake two United States' ships which the Sumter had taken.


Commander Hickey, of H.B.M. steamer Gladiator, has complained to Commodore Stringham that the blockade is left open at four points on the coast of North Carolina.


The new cotton crop, about the destiny of which there is so much uneasiness in Europe, is now being picked.

A letter from a well-known South Carolinian in Virginia, dated the 12th ult., says of the condition of the army, "The supplies of clothing are not enough, and the destitution of the soldiery in clothing and food is terrible; many applications are made to us by men in health, who wish to escape sickness, for an extra pair of drawers, socks, or undershirts. It will require every nerve to be strained by you and ourselves here to meet the exigencies of the fall and winter should the war last so long."

The Governors of several States have issued proclamations, addressed to the female part of the community, begging them to employ their time in knitting socks for the army, and calling for a subsidy of blankets. The Charleston Courier says that the measles is sweeping through the army, and that over 3000 are ill.

Half of the colleges at the South have suspended operations, the students having enlisted for the war.


On the 20th ult. the Wheeling Convention passed an ordinance creating the new State of Kanawha by a vote of 50 to 28. The boundary, as fixed, includes thirty-one counties of the Trans-Alleghany region of Virginia. A provision was incorporated permitting certain adjoining counties to come in, if they desire, by the vote of a majority of their people. The ordinance also provides for the election of delegates to a convention to form a Constitution. On the 24th proxximo the question "For a new State" or "Against a New State" will be submitted to the popular vote. Attorney-General Bates highly disapproves of this policy of dismembering the State of Virginia, because it countenances a policy of revolution and runs counter to the Constitutions both of the State and the nation. The Administration desired that the loyal people of Western Virginia should continue to maintain the fiction that they were the true Government of Virginia, so that the Federal Government might seem to be fighting under the additional sanction of the State Government.


Secretary Seward has issued an order establishing a passport system for foreign travel. No person will henceforth be allowed to go abroad from a port of the United States without a passport, and no one will be allowed to land in the United States without a passport from a Minister or Consul of the United States; or, if a foreigner, from his own Government, countersigned by some Minister or Consul. This regulation is not to take effect in regard to westward-bound passengers until a reasonable time shall have elapsed for it to become known in the country from which they proceed.

Numerous petitions from the Federal prisoners at Richmond have been received by the President praying for a recognition of the Confederate Government as belligerents so far as to allow of an exchange of prisoners. The President is, however, firmly opposed to doing any act which shall have the appearance of recognising the Confederates as other than rebels or rioters.

In order not to give ground for any retaliatory proceedings, no trial of privateers, nor any prisoners confined by the Government on charges of treason, will take place until the conclusion of the contest.


The Federal Government had arrested at Philadelphia Mr. Pierce Butler (the husband of Fanny Kemble), William B. Reed, the late U.S. Plenipotentiary in China, and several other prominent citizens, for holding treasonable intercourse with the enemy.

Mr. Russell's description of the flight from Bull Run had been republished in the principal Transatlantic journals. The New York World calls it "graphic and truthful," and the organs of the better sort take it in good part, but the editorial comments of the Times on the affair are looked upon with less favour.

A persecution of the peace-party newspapers has suddenly sprung up. In Bangor (Maine), Concord (New Hampshire), and Easton (Pennsylvania), the materiel of peace-party newspapers has been destroyed. In Haverhill (Mass.) a peace editor has been tarred and feathered, ridden on a rail, and forced to take an oath that he would write no more articles in a spirit opposed to the war. In New York and Brooklyn the five journals in favour of peace have been presented by the grand jury of the district as guilty of treason. One of these journals is a Catholic organ. The Christian Observer, an organ of the Presbyterians, has been seized in New York for "a virulent article on the war," which means a "virulent" article in favour of peace. The office in Philadelphia of the New York Daily News has for similar reasons been suppressed, and the United States' Marshals in that city, on the arrival of the mail train from New York, seized every copy of this journal, including all its Southern and Western circulation. A peace meeting has also been broken up by a mob in Saybrook, Connecticut.

The Democratic party in the United States refuses all offers of union with the Republicans, but is hopelessly divided into a war and peace section. They seem generally to condemn the suspension by the President of the writ of habeas corpus.

Prince Napoleon and suite have passed through Cleveland and Detroit en route for Lake Superior. At the latter place the Prince was the guest of General Cass.

The £40,000 in Bank of England notes reported in our last to have been seized on the person of Mr. Serrill, a passenger to New York by the Persia, and supposed to be an agent of the Confederate Government, turn out to have been Bank post bills, of no value without Mr. Serrill's endorsement.


The export of bread stuffs from New York to France begins to be large.

The Boston banks will only take 10,000,000 dollars instead of 15,000,000 dollars of the new loan, as at first agreed upon by the Boston deputation at New York. The New York banks immediately assumed the subscription for the extra sum.

In the year ending June 30, 1861, California exported—of wheat, 3,533,744 bushels, and of barley and oats, 600,000 bushels more.

Previous: The Civil War in America: Engagement between the 71st New York and an Alabama Regiment at the Battle of Bull Run.—From a Sketch by Our Special Artist.IllustrationVolume 39, no. 1097, p. 2 (23 paragraphs)
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