The Civil War in AmericaThe Illustrated London News, vol. 39, no. 1118, p. 512.
November 23, 1861
BY the arrival of the Cunard steamer Africa we have news from New York to the 6th inst.
The expeditionary fleet had weathered the fierce gale which beset it, only one tug-boat, one ferry-boat, one gun-boat, and a steam-transport laden with horses and stores, having put back disabled. On Saturday night, the 2nd inst., the fleet was seen, in fine order, within thirty miles of Bull's Bay, on the coast of South Carolina. Bull's Bay is twenty-five miles north of Charleston. It is generally supposed that Captain Dupont will effect a landing at this spot. His instructions, it is said, are very general, and leave him at liberty to land at such and so many points of the Southern coast as he may see fit.
The blockading squadrons continue to report the capture of English vessels trying to run into the forbidden ports.
The Potomac is still commanded by Confederate batteries, and the "grand army" in the neighbourhood of Washington still maintains its inactive attitude.
In Western Virginia General Floyd had attacked General Rosencranz (Federal) at Gauley Bridge without success. Two brigades were sent to cut off the retreat of Floyd, whose forces numbered about 7000, and hopes were entertained at Washington that the movement would be successful.
In Kentucky a Federal General captured Prestonsburg, in the extreme western part of the State. The Confederate General retreated six miles, where he was expected to make a stand.
In Missouri the Confederate Generals Price and M'Culloch had united their forces, numbering 30,000 men, at Neosho, in the south-western angle of the State. General Fremont's head-quarters were at Springfield when the order arrived relieving him of his command. The intelligence created great indignation through the camp; many officers signified their intention to resign, whole companies laid down their arms. General Fremont expostulated with both officers and men, and besought them not to abandon their posts. He issued a farewell address to the "Mississippi army," exhorting them to continue to his successor the same cordial and enthusiastic support which had been accorded to him, and expressing his deep regret that he should not have the honour to lead them to the victory they were just about to win. The body guard and Staff and one Brigadier-General (Asboth) remain firm to their personal allegiance, and return with Fremont to St. Louis. Fremont's successor is General Hunter, his former second in command—a name which was metamorphosed by the telegraph into "Hanks."
In order to satisfy public opinion that the action of the Administration was justifiable in reference to Fremont, the Cabinet has given to the public the report of the Adjutant-General on which they acted. It is a tissue of invective against the deposed General, in which General Hunter and the Quartermaster and Paymaster-General figure as prominent accusers. The following sentence will give the reader a fair idea of the general tone and style of this remarkable document:—
The opinion entertained by gentlemen of position and intelligence who have approached and observed him (Fremont) is that he is more fond of the pomp than of the stern realities of war; that his mind is incapable of fixed attention or strong concentration; that by his mismanagement of affairs since his arrival in Missouri the State has almost been lost; and that if he is continued in command the worst results may be anticipated.
On the 31st ult., General Winfield Scott withdrew from active service on the ground of his increasing physical infirmities. "For more than three years," he says, "I have been unable to mount a horse or to walk more than a few paces at a time, and that with much pain. Other and new infirmities—dropsy and vertigo—admonish me that repose of mind and body are necessary to add a little more to a life already protracted much beyond the usual span of man." The resignation was regretfully accepted, but his full pay and allowances are continued; and a special visit of the Cabinet was made to General Scott's residence to bid him farewell. An affecting scene took place, in which General Scott shed tears, made a speech, and shook hands with every member of the Cabinet in turn. General Scott was born in Eastern Virginia on the 13th of June, 1786, and is consequently now in his seventy-sixth year. He entered the army in 1808. He was taken prisoner by the British at the battle of Queenstown, and was severely wounded at Lundy's Lane. His services in the Mexican War are better known. In 1852 he was the Whig candidate for the Presidency, but was defeated by General Pierce, who was the standard-bearer of by far the stronger party. Since the revolution commenced it is superfluous to say that he has repudiated all notion of allegiance to his native State, and devoted himself with all his energies to the cause of the Union. General Scott, accompanied by several members of his family, is now on his way to Europe.
General M'Clellan received the post vacated by the veteran Scott. He was born in the city of Philadelphia on the 26th of December, 1826, and is therefore not yet thirty-five years of age. In the general order to the army announcing his promotion he says hesitation and self-distrust may well accompany the assumption of so vast a responsibility; but, confiding in the excellent qualities of his troops and the favour of Providence to the just cause, he cannot doubt of success. The municipal authorities of his native city having presented him with a sword, he replied very modestly:—
Nothing that I have yet accomplished would warrant this high compliment. It is for the future to determine whether I shall realise the expectations and hopes that have been centred in me. I trust and feel that the day is not far distant when I shall return to the place dearest of all others to me, there to spend the balance of my life among the people from whom I have received this beautiful gift. The war cannot be long. It may be desperate. I ask in the future forbearance, patience, and confidence. With these we can recomplish all.
The Southern journals continue to urge on the planters the necessity of abandoning the cultivation of cotton and tobacco, and the dedication of the land to the production of cereals and meat. The New Orleans Delta remarks that prices of breadstuffs had advanced to most exorbitant prices.
A cavalry regiment having been raised in New York city, of which the majority were of the Jewish faith, a Rabbi had applied for the chaplaincy. The Secretary for War replied that the Act of Congress only allowed the appointment of chaplains who belonged to "some Christian denomination." The restriction is generally condemned, and public opinion demands that at the ensuing Session of Congress the Act be modified in a liberal sense.
General Wool, commanding at Fortress Monroe, has resigned.
General Havelock, of the British Army, and brother of the hero of Lucknow, had arrived in the United States.
Mr. Edwin James, late M.P. and Q.C., had declared his intention to become an American citizen, and applied for admission to the New York bar.
The many European friends of Mr. Paul Morphy (whose home is in New Orleans ) will be glad to learn that he had recently paid a visit to Richmond, and was then in perfect health.
Judge Grier, of Philadelphia, while presiding at the trial of a privateersman, said it was a farce to try this class of prisoners while the war endured. "The dictates of humanity would counsel the Government to treat captives on the sea the same as those taken on land, and he could not understand the policy of hanging the first and holding the latter as prisoners or releasing them. Let the rebellion be crushed and then men might be tried for treason or piracy, and he would assist." No sentence has yet been passed on the prisoners already brought in guilty of the crime of piracy.
The elections in the States of Massachusetts and New York had resulted in the defeat of the Democratic party and the over whelming triumph of the united Republican and Union party, pledged to support President Lincoln in his war policy.
The exodus of free coloured emigrants from Canada and the Northern States to Hayti, by way of Boston and New York, continues.
The ship Maritana, of Providence, bound from Liverpool to Boston, struck on Egg Rocks, near Boston Light, and went to pieces. The captain, mate, and twenty-five of the passengers were drowned.
The imports at the port of New York show a decrease of almost one half compared with those of 1859, while the exports of domestic produce and general merchandise are almost double the exports of the same period in 1859.
The annual yield of the newly-opened silver-mines of California is estimated at the value of £1,200,000.