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Foreign and Colonial News

The Illustrated London News, vol. 42, no. 1185, p. 110.

January 31, 1863


By the arrival of the steamer City of Washington we have telegrams from New York to the 17th inst.

War News.

There has been no movement on the Rappahannock.

The Federal Colonel Cheseret reports that he had posted the emancipation proclamation on the walls of Winchester, Virginia, and scattered it among the farms. The proclamation was depopulating the region between the Rappahannock and the Potomac of the slaves owned there.

General Hunter, formerly superseded for his Abolitionism, has been appointed to the command of the Department of the South.

General Bragg has been superseded in the command of the Confederate force in Tennessee by General Longstreet. The Confederates estimate their loss at Murfreesboro' at 9000.

On their retreat, after the unsuccessful attack on Vicksburg, the Federal gun-boats proceeded up the Arkansas River. On the 11th they assailed Arkansas post, 100 miles up the stream. The post was defended by 7000 men, who, being attacked in front and rear, surrendered unconditionally, after a short and sharp struggle and a loss of 550 killed and wounded. The Federal loss is reported at 200 killed and wounded. General Sherman had been superseded by General M'Clernand, who was about to proceed up the White River.

Despatches from Springfield, Missouri, state that the Confederates were repulsed in their attack upon the town, and retired, leaving a portion of their killed and wounded on the field.

Reports have been received of further depredations by the Alabama in the West Indies. She captured two vessels in Mona Passage, one of them, the Parker, of Boston, was destroyed; the other, the Union, from Baltimore, was released. The cargo was not touched, being owned by British subjects.

Galveston, the chief port of Texas, has been retaken by the Confederate. On the 1st inst. five Confederate steamers, armed with guns, protected by cotton bales, with troops on board, attacked the Federal gun-boats and captured the gun-boat Harriet Lane. Her officers and nearly all her crew had been killed by musketry. Two Federal gun-boats escaped. The Federals blew up their flagship, Commodore Renshaw accidentally perishing on board. The remainder of the Federal fleet and troops returned to New Orleans. The Harriet Lane was strongly armed, and will be a valuable acquisition to the nearly extinct Confederate navy. The Confederates were commanded by General Magruder. He claims to have taken about 600 prisoners, and valuable stores, arms, &c. Six Federal vessels have left New Orleans to recapture the Harriet Lane and to destroy the Confederate gun-boats at Bayou Buffalo, in Galveston Bay.

The Confederates are said to have executed ten Federal officers in Arkansas, in retaliation for the acts of General M'Neil.

The Richmond Whig states that the Federal officers captured at Murfreesboro' will be confined until General Butler be given up to the Confederate Government.

The Louisiana State Capitol at Bâton Rouge has been burnt, with all its contents. The perpetrators of this act of vandalism are unknown.


Twenty-six Republican members of the Senate, forming a clear majority of that body, have presented a memorial to the President expressing a want of confidence in the Administration. They assert that the President is not aided by a Cabinet agreeing with him in political principles and general policy, and urge him to such changes as will secure a unity of purpose and action. They also admonish him that it is unwise and unsafe to intrust any important military operation to any officer who is not a cordial supporter of the Government.

Page 111

A bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives for the enlistment of 150,000 negro troops. The resolution to lay the bill upon the table was defeated by 83 to 53.

Mr. Spaulding, the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means in the House of Representatives, has explained the financial situation of the Government. He said that the Government needed immediately 150,000,000 dols. All the gold and silver in the banks of the loyal States was 87,000,000 dols. Bonds could not be sold. 1,117,000,000 dols. were required, in addition to the receipts from the customs and taxes, to carry on the Government until July, 1854. It is necessary to borrow, in some form, 1,900,000 dols. every day, Sundays included, between this time and the 1st of next July. Mr. Spaulding declared that the only hope of success in financial schemes depended upon military success. Congress has passed a bill for the issue of 100,000,000 dols. in legal-tender notes. The Missouri Emancipation Aid Bill, which proposed an appropriation of 10,000,000 dols., has been reported back by the Judiciary Committee, with a recommendation that it be increased to 20,000,000 dols.

Mr. Davis's Message.

President Davis's Message has been sent in to the Confederate Congress. He complains
that the European Powers declared neutrality without acknowledging the sovereignty of the seceded States; thus injuring the South, and prolonging the war by admitting the doctrine that the Federal Government had a right to coerce the seceded States. If these States were independent, the refusal to entertain the same international intercourse with them as with the North was unjust, no matter what may have been the motive prompting it. He does not complain of any treaty being concluded between the United States and Europe for the abolishment of privateering, although the prohibition to either belligerent to dispose of its prizes in European ports operated with intense severity against the South, by depriving her of the only means of maintaining, with some approach to equality, a struggle on the ocean.

He declares the anxiety of the South for peace, but says that its determination against submission is unalterable. He denounces the conduct of the Union armies as atrocious and cruel. Referring to Mr. Lincoln's emancipation proclamation, he says he may well leave it to the instincts of the common humanity of men of all countries to pass judgment upon a measure by which millions of human beings of inferior race, peaceful and contented labourers in their sphere, are doomed to extermination, while they are encouraged to commit assassination by an insidious recommendation to abstain from violence unless in self-defence. Commissioned Federal officers attempting to execute the proclamation will, if captured, be delivered to the State authorities to be dealt with according to the State laws for the punishment of criminals exciting insurrection.


General Butler has received a cordial reception in Boston, and expounded his plan there for making France and England pay the interest on the United States' national debt by means of an export duty on cotton.

In several counties of Eastern Maryland the slaves, though not affected by Mr. Lincoln's proclamation, refuse to work without wages.

A Democratic United States' senator has been elected by the Pennsylvanian Legislature by a majority of two votes over Mr. Cameron, the ex-Secretary of War and Minister to Russia. In New Jersey the Democratic Legislature have sent to the Federal Senate Colonel J.W. Wall, who was sent to Fort Lafayette by Mr. Simon Cameron a few months ago.

On the 10th inst. Dr. Lyman Beecher died in Brooklyn, at the advanced age of eighty-seven years and three months. He left thirteen children surviving him, of whom Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, Dr. Edward Beecher, and Miss Catherine Beecher are best known to fame. Forty years ago he took a prominent part in combating the advance of Unitarianism in Massachusetts, and was one of the ablest opponents of the late Dr. Channing.

Mr. George Francis Train has narrowly escaped being lynched at Jonesville, Wisconsin. The telegram does not state the reason for this manifestation of popular displeasure, but it probably arose from Mr. Train's denunciation of the emancipation proclamation and the negro race.

The premium on gold reached 50 on the 15th. On the 16th it had fallen to 47 ¾.


On the 8th the California section of the Great Pacific Railroad was commenced at Sacramento, the State capital. Governor Stanford presided, and turned the first sod. Both branches of the Legislature adjourned in honour of the occasion, which drew together a large concourse of spectators from all parts of the State. The day was kept as a holiday in Sacramento.

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