The Civil War in AmericaThe Illustrated London News, vol. 39, no. 1115, p. 441.
November 2, 1861
By the steamer City of Washington we have received New York journals to the 18th ult., and a short telegram from Cape Race to the 22nd.
The report of the discomforture of the Federal blockading squadron off New Orleans is not believed by the Navy Department at Washington. It is, however, reiterated with greater circumstantiality in the following despatch of Commander Hollins, of the Confederate States' Navy:-
Fort Jackson, Oct. 12.—Last night I attacked the blockaders with my little fleet. I succeeded after a very short struggle in driving them all aground in the South-west Pass Bar, except the Preble, which I sunk. I captured a prize from them, and after they were fast in the sand I peppered them well. There were no casualities on our side. It was a complete success.
A dispatch from New Orleans, dated the 13th, says the force of the Federal fleet was 40 guns and nearly 1000 men, while the Confederate fleet was 16 guns and 300 men.
The great naval expedition which has been preparing at New York and Boston for some weeks will rendezvous at Annapolis, on the Chesapeake, and take on board there its last quota of troops and artillery. Among the transports attached to this expedition are the finest steamers of the late Collins and Vanderbilt lines.
The Federal Commodore who allowed the Nashville to escape from Charleston with the Southern Commissioners has been superseded.
A force of Confederates was landed on Santa Rosa Island, off Pensacola, and stormed the encampment of a New York regiment stationed there. They destroyed all the tents, captured a large amount of rations, stores, and ammunition, and spiked all the guns placed in position.
Detailed accounts of the Confederate assault on the encampment on Hatteras Inlet show that the loss suffered by the Confederates was much exaggerated. The Monticello shelled and sunk two of the retiring bateaux, "containing, it is judged, about fifty men each."
On the Potomac General M'Clellan advances but slowly. The Confederates have evacuated Vienna, destroyed the railroad, and fallen back on Fairfax Court House. Two English officers who were present at the review of M'Clellan's artillery and cavalry on the 8th ult report "the artillery fair, horses light; batteries rather a mixture, longs and shorts, rifled and smooth bores; carriages heavy, harness not well kept nor clean, but strong and serviceable; men strong and serviceable too, but not well set up; headdress condemned. Report on cavalry not so favourable. Men don't ride; no seats, no setting up, nothing clean; horses rather mixed; saddlery and equipments—including swords, scabbards, spurs, bits, and metalwork—generally very dirty. As to bone and sinew, the men are good as can be; the impression is, however, that they could not be relied on to stand or to make a charge in their present condition, and that they would do more harm than good if any attempt were made to handle them in the field."
On the Upper Potomac, where Generals Stone and Banks are in command, there has been some fighting. In the first engagement the Confederates retreated with the loss of one gun. On the second occasion 1800 Federals crossed the Potomac at Edward's Ferry, and marched in the direction of Leesburg, near which he[sic] was met by a large force of Confederates, who repulsed him[sic].
In Western Virginia the state of the roads is already such as to forbid the idea of further campaigning for the present. General Rosencranz, in command of the Federals, had fallen back within six miles of Gawley Bridge, on the Upper Kanawha. The enemy, under General Lee, were encamped twenty-six miles to the south-east. Both armies are in want of the means of transport.
The opposing armies have not yet come into collision on the soil of Kentucky. Reinforcements are arriving to both sides. Ex-Vice-President Breckenridge is rousing the people of Eastern Kentucky to resist the Northern invaders.
In Western Missouri General Price, with 20,000 troops, has made a stand near Osceola. General Fremont was following him. A body of 5000 Confederates has been defeated at Fredericktown in this State.
Mr. Cameron, the Secretary of War, has visited Fremont's headquarters to judge for himself how matters were going on. Before leaving St. Louis he ordered General Fremont to discontinue, as unnecessary, his fieldworks around the city, and that which he was erecting at Jefferson City; to suspend work on the barracks for his bodyguard; to let his debts in St. Louis, amounting to 4,500,000 dollars, remain unpaid until they can be properly examined, and to allow none but the regular disbursing officers to disburse the funds. General Fremont was informed that the officers appointed by him without the knowledge of the President, numbering over two hundred, would not be paid. It is supposed, from the tenor of this order, that General Fremont will be removed or compelled to resign.
The following semi-official announcement has been made from Washington:— "First, no one has been authorised to enlist or raise troops in Canada. Second, no commissions have been offered nor other overtures made to military men in France or other European States. Third, the Government has not tendered the command of the army to General Garibaldi. What is true? First, that every foreigner who has come with a good character and credentials and offered his services to the Government in support of the Union has been accepted, and no other is in the military employment of the United States. Second, General Garibaldi being a naturalised citizen, it was reported to the Government by one of our Consuls that the General was contemplating a visit to this country, and had intimated conditionally a disposition to engage in the service of the United States. He was informed, if this were the case, his services would be accepted with pleasure, and he would receive a commission as Brigadier-General, the same rank which was conferred on General Lafayette in the war of the Revolution. General Garibaldi, upon consideration of the subject, has concluded not to offer his services at present, but thinks he may by-and-by visit the United States."
The Secretary of State has sent a letter to the Governors of the loyal States calling upon them to adopt measures for defending the coasts. This letter is conceived in these terms:—
Sir,—The present insurrection had not even revealed itself in arms when disloyal citizens hastened to foreign countries to invoke their intervention for the overthrow of the Government and the destruction of the Federal Union. These agents are known to have made their appeals to some of the more important States without success. It is not likely, however, that they will remain content with such refusals. Indeed, it is understood that they are industriously endeavouring to accomplish their disloyal purposes by degrees and by indirection. Taking advantage of the embarrassments of agriculture, manufacture, and commerce in foreign countries, resulting from the insurrection they have inaugurated at home, they seek to involve our common country in controversies with States with which every public interest and every interest of mankind require that it shall remain in relations of peace, amity, and friendship. I am able to state for your satisfaction that the prospect of any such disturbance is now less serious than it has been at any previous period during the course of the insurrection. It is, nevertheless, necessary now, as it has hitherto been, to take every precaution that is possible to avoid the evils of foreign war to be superinduced upon those of civil commotion which we are endeavouring to cure.
One of the most obvious of such precautions is that our ports and harbours on the seas and lakes should be put in a condition of complete defence, for any nation may be said voluntarily to incur danger in tempestuous seasons when it fails to show that it has sheltered itself on every side from which the storm might possibly come.
The measures which the Executive can adopt in this emergency are such only as Congress has sanctioned and for which it has provided.
The President is putting forth the most diligent efforts to execute these measures, and we have the great satisfaction of seeing that these efforts are seconded by the favour, aid, and support of a loyal, patriotic, and self-sacrificing people, who are rapidly bringing the military and naval forces of the United States into the highest state of efficiency.
But Congress was chiefly absorbed during its recent extra Session with those measures, and did not provide as amply as could be wished for the fortification of our sea and lake coasts. In previous wars the loyal States have applied themselves by independent and separate activity to the support and aid of the Federal Government in its arduous responsibilities. The same disposition has been manifested in a degree eminently honourable by all the loyal States during the present insurrection. In view of this fact, and relying upon the increase and continuance of the same disposition on the part of the loyal States, the President has directed me to invite your consideration to the subject of the improvement and perfection of the defences of the State over which you preside, and to ask you to submit the subject to the consideration of the Legislature when it shall have assembled. Such proceedings by the State would require only a temporary use of its means. The expenditures ought to be made the subject of conferences with the Federal Government. Being thus made with the concurrence of the Government for general defence, there is every reason to believe that Congress would sanction what the State would do, and would provide for its reimbursement.
Should these suggestions be accepted, the President will direct the proper agents of the Federal Government to confer with you, and to superintend, direct, and conduct the prosecution of the system of defence of your State.
I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant, W. H. SEWARD.
American public opinion is at a loss to know what is the immediate cause of this panicstruck epistle. The New York Times attributes it to the European intervention in Mexico, which the Federal Government would, in certain eventualities, oppose with all its power.
The British Ambassador has protested against the arbitrary confinement of British subjects, alleging that the authority of Congress was necessary for such measures.
Mr. Seward replies to the effect that in the present emergency all classes of society alike must cheerfully acquiesce in the measures which the safety of the people demand, and that the British Government would hardly expect the President to accept their explanation of the Constitution of the United States.
The New York Commercial Advertiser, a journal of good authority, avers that the personal relations between Mr. Seward and Lord Lyons are far from friendly.
The telegraph line which is to connect New York and San Francisco has been opened to Utah City in its eastward progress.
The Commissioners of the World's Fair have organized organised themselves by electing Secretary Seward chairman, and Census Commissioner Kennedy secretary. A committee was appointed to wait on the President, with a request that he would send a national vessel to England to convey such goods as American contributors may desire to exhibit.
The New York banks have offered for the third 50,000,000 dollars of the Federal loan, and for 100,000,000 dollars of Seven per Cent Bonds.