Foreign and Colonial NewsThe Illustrated London News, vol. 42, no. 1182, p. 2.
January 3, 1863
By the arrival of the Steamers North American and Hansa we are in receipt of New York journals of the 20th ult.
The great battle of Fredericksburg, in which the Federal armies sustained a disastrous repulse, is described in the Supplement, page 18.
On the night of the 15th the army of the Potomac was withdrawn to the north side of the Rappahannock, "because," reports General Burnside, "I felt fully convinced that the position in front could not be carried, and it was a military necessity either to attack the enemy or retire." This perilous movement was effected during a stormy night, and was not discovered by the Confederates until it was too late to interrupt it. The wounded were all saved, and the pontoon bridges removed.
The Confederates have advanced their pickets in Fredericksburg to points near to the banks of the Rappahannock, have increased their intrenchments in the rear of the city, and thrown up rifle-pits on the left of the city near the river.
Official reports of the Northern losses put their casualties at 1400 killed, and 8000 wounded, to which may be added 800 taken prisoners.
The Confederate commander General Lee has drawn up his report of the engagement. He acknowledges a loss of 1800 in killed and wounded. Among the former he names Generals Cobb and Gregg.
The Federal Senate has ordered inquiry to be made into the facts of the Fredericksburg disaster.
There have been some movements in North Carolina. The Confederate General Evans had telegraphed that the Federal General attacked Kingston, on the 13th, with 15,000 men and nine gun-boats. The fight lasted ten hours, and the Federals were driven back to their gun-boats. The Northern accounts admit that they lost 500 prisoners and eleven pieces of artillery. The Southerners were eventually compelled to retire from the town, the Federal bombardment having greatly injured it.
The Confederates have made a demonstration against Harper's Ferry, but were repulsed.
Five disabled vessels of Banks's expedition have put into Port Royal.
The Confederates have sunk the Federal gun-boat Cairo with torpedoes off Yazoo River.
Twenty thousand men have deserted from the army of the Potomac, and the number is every day increasing.
General Butler has issued an order that no person be allowed to land from any vessel arriving at New Orleans without taking the oath of allegiance. General Butler had ordered a further assessment of the cotton-brokers for the support of the poor.
The New York journals simultaneously report that Mr. Seward has resigned, in consequence of a vote of want of confidence in the Cabinet passed by a caucus of Republican senators.
Attorney-General Bates has given an opinion in opposition to the Dred Scott decision, and to the effect that coloured men are citizens of the United States. The case arose from the detention at Perth Amboy, by a revenue cutter, of a schooner commanded by a coloured man, who, if not a citizen of the United States, would have been incompetent to act as her captain. The Attorney-General decides that all free persons, without distinction of race and colour, if native born, are citizens. The question of citizenship is distinct from that of political rights. A child or a woman is a citizen, though not privileged to vote or take office. The opinions in the Dred Scott case are pronounced to be of no more authority than the obiter dicta of eminent lawyers, as the question before the Supreme Court in that case only involve the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court. The master of the schooner is pronounced to be legally competent to command the vessel, and the embargo laid on her is ordered to be quashed.
President Davis has left Tennessee to visit Mobile and the army of the Mississippi.
The Commander of the French corvette Yuaalan lately visited Fort Sumter in company with General Beauregard.
The popular feeling runs high in the North against General Halleck and Secretary Stanton, to whom the late reverse of the Federal arms is attributed.
Mr. Rarey, the horsetamer, has been appointed Commissioner of Horses in the Federal States. His first official act was to go to the army of the Potomac under Burnside. There he inquired fully into the health of the horses, and has adopted a new system to check the mortality among them.
The British Consul at Fredericksburg was arrested by the Federals on the 11th, on suspicion of being a rebel spy, but was in a short time released. On the 12th, at the request of General Howard, he was again arrested, on the charge that he had secreted armed rebels in his house and then aided them in their escape.
The commercial intelligence states that Congress and the leading bankers are agreed in the condemnation of Mr. Chase's plan for the reconstitution of the banks of the country. Gold remains nearly stationary at about 32 per cent premium.