Illustrations of the War in AmericaThe Illustrated London News, vol. 39, no. 1116, p. 485.
November 9, 1861
The modes of punishment adopted in the Federal army may be thought, perhaps, to smack of undue barbarity, although the Americans have been prone to taunt the English and other European Powers with the brutalities practised on their soldiers. Judging by what has been said and written on this subject by Americans, it would seem that a free and enlightened people like our Transatlantic cousins, even when serving in the ranks, could not be treated as the hirelings of a despotic Government. Yet, glancing at the Illustration on page 467 (from a Sketch by our Special Artist), it would require some hardihood to affirm that the English soldier is treated with greater indignity or cruelty than the American citizen. On the left is an unfortunate Unionist with a cannon-ball chained to his ankle, and carrying on his shoulder a heavy log of wood. Another delinquent is made to stand erect on a small barrel for hours together; while below him is a wretched wight trussed like a fowl for the spit. In the background a poor fellow is corded, with his hands high above his head, to a tree—the rope which supports him eating into his wrists and stopping the circulation of the blood.
The Confederates of Maryland keep up a constant communication with the Secession forces on the Virginian shore of the Potomac, and most hazardous are the means frequently employed to convey information of the Federal movements to the enemy. At times a swift-going galley, manned by four oarsmen and a coxswain, will suddenly dash out from a creek at night and make rapidly for the Virginian side, trusting to escape the notice of the blockading flotilla in the confusion if speaking the numerous supply-boats carrying stores to Washington from Chesapeake Bay. Sometimes these boats, it is likely enough, are successful in their attempts; but they are frequently detected, as in the instance illustrated by our Special Artist on page 470, and then ensues an exciting chase. The gun-boat has lowered one of her gigs to go in pursuit, while she fires a shot from her bow-gun at the traitor galley. There is full another mile to row to the shore, the man-of-war gig is coming up fast, and one more shot will shiver the "Secesh" to atoms. So the crew give in, and the papers destined for Davis or Beauregard are sent up the next day to the State department at Washington, while the blockade-breakers are provided with quarters in Fortress Monroe.
Since receiving this Illustration from our Special Artist the command of the Potomac by the Federal forces has been somewhat checked. Thus we read that on the 19th ult., as the Federal tug-boat the Resolute was towing up the Potomac a supply-vessel, the Confederate batteries opened upon them, and the latter, having got adrift, was boarded. On the same day the flag ship Union went down the river from Washington, destined for Fortress Monroe. To the mortification of the National authorities, she was compelled to return, having found it impossible to get past the formidable batteries which the Confederates had opened. The officers of these vessels, moreover, announce that the guns were splendidly aimed, and that the Confederates are able, at the various points they command, to throw large-sized rifle shell clean over into the Maryland side. On the 22nd Commander Craven, of the Potomac squadron, informed the Navy Department that the Confederate batteries were impassable, a formidable battery at Matthias Point having been unmasked.