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The Civil War in America

The Illustrated London News, vol. 39, no. 1116, p. 465.

November 9, 1861

By the arrival of the steamer North American we have advices to the evening of the 26th ult. The most important event of the week has been the completion of the great continental telegraph line, uniting San Francisco with New York, and so with Cape Race, Newfoundland—a connected line of 6000 miles, and the longest in the world. It was finished on the 25th ult., and a message exchanged between the Mayors of San Francisco and New York.


A battle has been fought on the Upper Potomac to the advantage of the Confederates. On the 21st ult. the Federals, to the number of 1736, advanced upon Leesburg. The Federals were commanded by General Stone and the Confederates by General Evans. The former was eventually compelled to abandon the field and fall back across the Potomac with the loss of 600 men, including General Baker, killed. Of these 400 are set down as "missing." The retreating forces reached the river-bank about twenty minutes before nightfall. As there were no means of conveyance across the river, those who could swim plunged into the river, some carrying their arms and others throwing them away. Many were drowned. The Federals were subsequently reinforced, and returned to the charge; but, on the approach of two strong columns of Confederates, again retreated into Maryland. General Baker was Senator for Oregon, and an Englishman by birth. He emigrated, when young, to Illinois and thence to California. He was, we believe, the only Englishman who ever sat in the United States' Senate.

The Confederates have obtained the command of the Potomac from Quantico Creek to Chopowamsic Creek. A crowd of small vessels employed in the commissary service of the Washingtonians are detained below the batteries, and fears are entertained that the supplies of forage for the 30,000 horses and mules in and around the capital will run short unless the batteries are silenced.

In Kentucky General Zollicoffer at the head of a body of the Confederates attacked General Gerard. He was repulsed three times. This skirmish is the first which has taken place on the soil of this State.

In Western Virginia the campaign is over for the season. The Northerners hold the ground from Gauley River on the south, to Cheat Mountain on the east. The Federals were suffering much from sickness in this now inclement region.

In Missouri, Lexington has been retaken by the Federals. 150 troops under General White surprised the garrison, numbering 300. Only two pieces of cannon were found in the fort. General Fremont is still said to be in pursuit of General Price. General Fremont has not been removed from his command only because the influence of his name with the Western people is so great that the Cabinet fears lest his removal would damp the popular ardour for the war there and put a stop to recruiting.

The accounts of the Confederate attack on the Federals on Santa Rosa Island and on the blockading fleet off New Orleans were much exaggerated, especially the latter. No vessel was destroyed or even damaged, and no man killed. Some timber was destroyed and a transport laden with coal taken.

The great naval expedition, composed of 80 vessels, carrying 500 guns and between 30,000 and 40,000 men, would sail from Hampton, near Fortress Monroe, on the 27th ult., for some undisclosed point on the Southern coast.

The Southern Commissioners to England and France who ran the blockade at Charleston have arrived at Cardenas, in Cuba.


In an important correspondence between Lord Lyons and Mr. Seward relative to the arrest, by order of the latter, of two British subjects, and the refusal on the part of the military authorities to recognise the writ of habeas corpus, Lord Lyons, in the name of the English Government, vehemently complains of this proceeding as being at variance with the ties of amity between the two countries and a violation of the American Constitution. Mr. Seward, in a lengthy reply, describes the circumstances under which the two British subjects in question were arrested, with a view to show that the Government were justified in regarding them as objects of suspicion, and that when their innocence was made apparent they were at once liberated. Mr. Seward then defends the adoption of extreme measures on the ground of the exigencies of the country in a time of civil war, when battling for its existence, and with some sarcasm remarks that "the British Government will hardly expect that the President will accept their explanation of the Constitution of the United States." Mr. Seward, at the same time, argues that the President has in no respect transcended his powers.

The Northern press, without exception, sustain Mr. Seward; but the New York Tribune hopes that these extraordinary powers will be used as seldom as possible, and that the offender will in loyal districts be speedily brought to trial.


Mr. Seward's previous circular to the Governors calling on them to fortify their coasts is condemned by the moderate portion of the press as uncalled for. It caused a panic in the New York money market; Federal Six per Cents fell three per cent, and the popular subscriptions to the national loan dwindled to one half the previous amount. The stocks have since recovered themselves, but the subscriptions to the loan continue to feel the effect of the panic.

Arms and munitions of war are arriving in New York from England and the Continent. They are chiefly destined for the army of the west. The Quartermaster-General having sent an agent to England to purchase £1,000,000 worth of clothing for the army, the New England manufacturers protested and declared that all purchases should be made at home. The Quartermaster-General replied that his wants were urgent, and human life depended on an immediate supply, which could not be had at home, but that as little money should be disbursed abroad as possible.

The slave-traders have left the port of New York, where they find themselves watched too narrowly. Nine persons indicted for participating in this traffic are now in gaol in New York awaiting their trial.

Lady Franklin and niece have visited Nevada Territory, where they were received with honour by the Legislature then in session there.

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