The Civil War in America.The Illustrated London News, vol. 39, no. 1119, p. 537.
November 30, 1861
By the arrival of the Europa we are in receipt of papers to the 13th and telegrams to the 15th, inst.
Of the eighty-four transports and war-vessels which constituted the naval expedition when it set sail from Hampton Roads seventy-five arrived safely in the harbour of Port Royal, on the coast of South Carolina, about midway between Charleston and Savannah. The bombardment commenced on the 7th inst., and, after a fight of four hours, the Confederates abandoned the forts at the entrance to the inlet, and retreated precipitately. The Federals captured two forts, forty-three guns, military equipments, charts, and other valuable papers. The Confederates complain that their artillery was badly served, while that of their enemies was ably handled. The Federals in the attack lost only one gun-boat, whose hands were all saved. On the following day the Federal army, numbering 15,000 men, landed and established themselves at Beaufort, the seaside resort of the platers. The settlement, together with the neighbouring plantations, had been totally destroyed by the Confederates. Large numbers of negroes came into the Federal camp. The loss of life seems to have been small. The Federals set down their loss at eight; that of the Confederates is loosely estimated at a hundred. The small fleet of the Confederates, commanded by Commodore Tatnall, took no part in the action. Many of them escaped up the inlet leading to the Savannah river, others were run ashore, and the remainder were intercepted by the Federal vessels. Of the nine Federal vessels which were disabled en route, seven returned to Fortress Monroe, and two were wrecked on the coast of North Carolina. One of these contained ordnance stores, the other, troops to the number of 75 (who were taken prisoner) and horses, of whom all were lost except 15.
In Western Virginia the town of Guyandotte, on the Ohio River, was attacked by 600 Confederates, and, out of 150 Union troops stationed there, 100 were either killed or taken prisoners. The Confederates then retreated, when a loyal regiment retook the town and set fire to it, reducing the greater part to ashes.
At Piketown, the capital of Pike county, Kentucky, the easternmost county in the State, General Nelson (Federal) defeated General Williams's forces and took their leaders prisoners. The Secessionists lost 400 killed and a large number of prisoners.
A battle took place in Missouri on the 7th, of which the accounts are very unsatisfactory. It appears that an expedition left the Federal camp at Cairo, Illinois, and landed at Belmont, in Missouri, nearly opposite Columbia. The expedition numbered about 3500 men, and made an attack on a Confederate camp, numbering, they say, 7000. The enuny were driven out of their entrenchments, and their camp destroyed. As the Federals were retiring, booty laden, they were taken in the rear by a body of Confederates and compelled to retreat to their boats, leaving their booty to the enemy. The Federals admit a loss of from 300 to 500 in killed, wounded, and missing.
The army of the West has not advanced beyond Springfield. General Halleck, of California, hss been appointed to command it. He is one of the four Major- Generals of the regular army of the United States. He entered the army in 1839, and is now about forty-two years of age. He has written two works on military matters, and till recently was practising law in San Francisco. General Fremont, on his return to St. Louis, received an ovation from the Germans of that city.
The late gale, in which the North Briton was lost, raged with almost unexampled severity at Hatteras Inlet, and the high tide had overflowed the space outside the forts to such an extent that a new channel was being formed between them. It was apprehended that the forts might thus be rendered untenable. Some clothing and stores taken down from Fortress Monroe for the use of the Indiana regiment stationed there were washed away, after being landed, and lost. The camp of this regiment was submerged and everything it contained washed away. The regiment has since been brought back to Monroe. Much sickness prevails among the occupying force on Hatteras.
The Southern journals report the arrival of the Confederate steamer Theodora at Savannah with a valuable cargo of stores.
The steamer Bermuda escaped from Charleston with a cargo of rosin and turpentine and 2000 bales of cotton. She was permitted to take a cargo of cotton as a mark of gratitude for the valuable supply of arms and ammunition she had brought; but, as a general rule, ships running the blockade for Europe are not allowed by the people to take cotton.
President Davis and Vice-President Stephens have been re-elected to the positions they now severally occupy.
Judah P. Benjamin has been appointed Secretary for War.
Governor Curtin, of Pennsylvania, has written a caustic reply to Mr. Seward's circular letter. He objects to corresponding by slips cut from newspapers; he is surprised that the late Congress was not solicited to pass appropriations for this purpose if things were more menacing then than now. He says that he does not feel himself justified in calling a special Session of the State Legislature, while Congress will reassemble a month before the regular Session of the fotmer body. The whole subject of coast defences could only be dealt with by the general Government. Even if the States were to undertake the job, the competition in the money markets for loans between the nation and the States would be very injurious to both. Pennsylvania had already advanced considerable sums for raising volunteers, and the Federal Government had thrown great difficulties in the way of repayment. On the whole, he suggests the abandonment of Mr. Seward's plan.
The captain of the slaver Erie had been convicted of the capital offence by a New York jury. This is remarkable as being the only conviction of the kind since 1820 when the traffic was declared piracy by Congress. Another trial for a similar crime is progressing in New Bedford.
In New Jersey the Democratic party had carried the State. In Maryland the Union ticket prevailed. To this result the surveillance exercised over the polls by General Dix's troops greatly contributed.
A memorial was in circulation in St. Louis, asking Congress to relieve Missouri from the national taxes, because her citizens have already suffered so seriously from the war.