Foreign and Colonial NewsThe Illustrated London News, vol. 42, no. 1210, p. 686.
June 27, 1863
According to the last intelligence from America little progress has been made by either party in any quarter.
Vicksburg and Port Hudson still held out. General Grant reports that the siege of the former was progressing satisfactorily; but the Southern advices state that General Pemberton has announced his confidence of holding the fortress, and that General Johnstone was to take his time to organise his forces.
Richmond papers of the 6th publish the following speech of General Pemberton to his army:--
You have heard that I was incompetent, a traitor, and that it was my intention to sell Vicksburg. Follow me, and you will see the cost at which I will sell Vicksburg; when the last pound of beef, bacon, and flour, the last grain of corn, the last cow and hog, horse and dog, shall have been consumed, and the last man shall have perished in the trenches--then, and only then, will I sell Vicksburg.
A special correspondent of the New York Times, writing from the Federal head-quarters near Vicksburg, states that after some of the assaults on the place many of the wounded lay where they fell for nearly four days, and that "the proportion of living to dead was terribly small." Few of those brought off alive were likely to recover. In reference to the defences of Vicksburg, the same correspondent says:--
The rebels are indefatigable in their efforts to strengthen their works. Every morning reveals the erection of a new work, the repairing of an old one, or the planting of batteries in new positions. Yesterday morning they astonished our forces on the right by opening upon them with two new guns--one a smooth 64 and the other a rifled 32 pounder. In fact, from all appearances, they are as busy digging within as we are without; the morning roar of a new gun from our side is usually answered with defiance by some night-grown battery on theirs; and, in short, when we move they countermove; we mine and they countermine; and if we succeed in blowing up or carrying their first line of works we shall probably find another immediately in its rear.
General Johnstone was concentrating a large force, and it was thought that his attack on the Federal rear would not be long delayed. As a preliminary movement, it is said that the Confederate General Kirby Smith had occupied Milliken's Bend, above Vicksburg, cutting off General Grant's supplies.
Admiral Porter officially reports that he sent another expedition up the Yazoo, which destroyed nine Confederate transports. Admiral Porter adds that, with the exception of some few steamers beyond Fort Pemberton, the Confederates can now transport nothing on the Yazoo.
General Banks was pushing the siege of Port Hudson, but accounts from Mobile assert that the Federals had been repulsed and that the General had lost his arm. The General reported that the behaviour of the negro soldiers during the assault was heroic. All accounts of the conduct of the black troops sent into battle by the Federals at Port Hudson concur in stating that they fought with great ferocity. The
Page 687New Orleans Express also intimates that their appearance much exasperated the Southerners, and that the latter gave no quarter.
A correspondent of the Cincinnati Inquirer writes from Mississippi that the whole country from Milliken's Bend to Hard Pines, opposite Grand Gulf, a distance of sixty miles, is one "abomination of desolation."
It has been an earthly paradise; lordly palaces filled with pictures, statues, and articles of virtù; beautiful gardens, teeming with floral beauties, are now all laid waste. In those magnificent halls where Southern beauty and chivalry were wont to revel, soldiers cook their despised "sow-belly" with fires built out of rosewood chairs and curiously-carved furniture, sleep on cotton beds worth 50 dols. each, and in the morning abandon all to the horde of fifty hungry negroes, who follow the army and gather its refuse, like troops of unclean birds which smell the carcass from afar. Among these rich nabobs none excelled the Hon. John Perkins. His dwelling is magnificent even in its ruins, and his gardens are still fragrant with acres of roses. When General butler entered New Orleans he chartered the Magnolia, one of the largest boats on the river, put his most valuable slaves, pictures, plate, cattle, &c., on board, and set fire to the rest. For seven miles his land blazed with 5000 bales of burning cotton and granaries of corn. His house, with furniture which cost 200,000 dols. in Paris, and the houses of his overseers, all were fired, while he stood on the bank and watched the mighty conflagration. In the morning he embarked, a ruined man. I had never dreamed of such Arabian magnificence as I find in the ruins of the houses of these rich planters. In one garden I found no less than seven hundred varieties of roses. This is, I believe, the largest collection in America. There are not more than three in Europe that equal it.
The report that General Lee had evacuated Fredericksburg and that Hooker had occupied the city was untrue. It appears that, in consequence of the withdrawal of a Confederate brigade from Fredericksburg, General Hooker sent a division across the Rappahannock at Deep Run to reconnoitre. This division crossed in face of a heavy fire from the Confederate rifle-pits on the opposite shore, and, after capturing 100 Confederates in the rifle-pits and ascertaining that Longstreet was there in force, crossed the river with the loss of forty men.
On the 9th there was a severe cavalry engagement on the Rappahannock. Lee had assembled a force of cavalry at Culpepper Courthouse for a raid into Maryland, and three brigades of Federal Cavalry and 2000 infantry crossed the river at Beverley Ford to attack them. A fight ensued, which lasted all day, when, heavy infantry reinforcements reaching the Confederates, the Federals retired, taking with them their dead and wounded. The object of the expedition, to prevent the raid, is said to have been accomplished.
The New York Times thus epitomises the great cavalry fight beyond the Rappahannock:--
At daylight on Tuesday, the 9th, General Pleasanton crossed the Rappahannock in two columns, the right at Beverley's Ford and the left at Kelly's Ford, both fords being captured without much loss. The right column, commanded by Bufford, a mile from the river, came upon a brigade of Confederate cavalry just aroused from their sleep, when the fight commenced, and continued from five a.m. till three p.m., by which time the entire Confederate force, under General Stuart, consisting of 12,000 cavalry and 16 pieces of artillery, had been engaged, and driven back three miles on the right and five on the left with slight loss, the left column, under Gregg, having formed a junction with the right about two p.m. near Brandy Station. At three o'clock the fight was discontinued, the rebels having been driven back upon strong infantry supports, which were hurried up by rail from Culpepper, supposed to be a part of General Longstreet's force; and our forces returned almost unmolested to this side of the river. The Confederate force proved to be more numerous than ours; but, notwithstanding this advantage, they were driven back with a loss of twenty and a stand of colours. Important papers were taken in the camps, by which it appears that General Stuart was to start on his great raid through the loyal States, passing through the Shenandoah Valley. This enterprise has now probably been postponed for a time.
Several plundering expeditions have been sent in different directions by the Federals, and a great deal of property has been destroyed.
The Democratic State Convention of Ohio, after having unanimously nominated Mr. Vallandigham for the governorship, appointed a committee to demand his release of the President. Mr. Vallandigham is said to have reached a Southern port, intending to sail for Nassau.
The Governor of Illinois has prorogued the State Legislature till the 18th inst. Sixty-five Republicans left the Legislature, thereby preventing a quorum; but the Democrats refused to recognise the prorogation, and entered a protest against the Governor for unconstitutional usurpation and the revolutionary breaking up of the Legislature. The Governor's pretext for his action was that there was disagreement between both Houses on the subject of adjournment. Great indignation was manifested among the Democrats.
A meeting has been held to raise 10,000 negroes for General Fremont. It was announced that President Lincoln had consented to give Fremont a department if negroes were raised.
President Lincoln, in reply to a Missouri committee of Germans, stated that Generals Fremont, Siegel, and Butler were not systematically kept out of command, but had by their own action placed themselves in their present position. He said that he favoured gradual emancipation. His being President might be a misfortune; but having been elected he meant to be President, and perform his duty if he died for it.
The enrolment is being resisted in Indiana. The Provost Marshal and his assistants have been shot. Considerable excitement prevails, and a military force has been sent to the scene of disorder.
General M'Clellan has reviewed two returned regiments from the balcony of the Fifth Avenue Hotel. Tremendous enthusiasm was displayed for him by the soldiers and people.
A Democratic meeting has been called in Brooklyn to denounce the usurpation of the Administration.
The editors of the New York journals have passed resolutions asserting their right to criticise the acts of the Administration and its subordinates, and denying the right of the military to suppress papers published far from the seat of war.
A strike of the stevedores and longshore men is assuming a formidable shape in New York, and all the men refusing to join are threatened with violence. The Government vessels are being loaded by Government officials under a guard of soldiers for their protection against the longshore men.
In the case of the Dolphin it has been decided that a vessel sailing for Nassau with the intention of proceeding thence to a blockaded port, is equally liable to capture as if she were bound direct to the blockaded port. A similar decision had been given in the case of the Pearl.
Eight schooners are reported to have been captured in the Gulf.
President Davis has revoked the exequatur of the British Consul at Richmond for disregarding the legal authority of the Confederate Government in assuming to act as Consul for other cities than Richmond and other States than Virginia.