Foreign and Colonial NewsThe Illustrated London News, vol. 43, no. 1229, p. 455.
November 7, 1863
The news from Virginia is as perplexing as it is important. Our last Number announced the advance of the Confederates under Lee towards Washington. By intelligence subsequently received we learn that Lee's forces beat a hasty retreat, and still later information notifies their re-advance.
On the 18th ult. the Confederates surprised and took possession of Charleston, eight miles from Harper's Ferry, and to the 19th the Confederate cavalry continued to operate on the rear of the Federals, till General Meade was pushed to the front of the defences of Washington. At this point, where a battle was considered as imminent, General Lee suddenly commenced a retreat, and the Federal cavalry advanced as far as Warrenton Junction without meeting the Confederates, and it was found that General Lee had re-crossed the Rappahannock, having first entirely destroyed the railroad from Manassas to the latter river. This retrograde movement of General Lee took every one by surprise, and gave rise to various conjectures as to the object and motives for it. One supposition was that General Lee contemplated another raid into Pennsylvania; a second, that he was sending his army along the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad to confront and crush Burnside; while a third was that the latter General, having gained some success over the Confederates at Greencastle, was advancing to Lynchburg, the base of General Lee's supplies, and that Lee was falling back to protect it. On the 24th, however, General Lee's army suddenly crossed to the north side of the Rappahannock, repulsed some Federal cavalry with heavy loss, pushed back two brigades of Federal infantry, and advanced to Beaton station, on the Orange and Alexandria Railway, where there was another engagement with the Federal cavalry. At the date of the latest accounts the left of the Confederate army was said to rest near Beverley Ford, while its line crossed the railway near Beaton station and extended towards Stafford Courthouse.
General Meade has visited Washington for a consultation concerning the future of the North.
General Rosecranz [i.e., Rosecrans] has been superseded in Tennessee, and his special command given to General Thomas, who fought so doggedly at Chicamauga, while to General Grant is committed the supreme command of the armies of the Cumberland, the Tennessee, and the Ohio.
In regard to the removal of General Rosecranz the Washington correspondent of the New York Times says:--"The removal of Rosecranz is the subject of much and contradictory comment. The more correct understanding of the causes that led to it is that charges were preferred against him by Generals M'Cook and Crittenden, of unofficer-like conduct on the battle-field; of a panic-stricken flight from the field to Chattanooga while the battle was in its crisis; and of his unsoldierly and mischievous conduct in publicly reporting on reaching Chattanooga, to both officers and men, that the day was lost. Superadded to this is alleged Government resentment of his disobedience of positive orders not to risk a general engagement by advancing beyond Chattanooga before he was reinforced; also its impatience of his disposition and handling his troops on the field,"
President Jefferson Davis has visited the Confederate armies near Chattanooga, for the supposed purpose of allaying the disputes between General Bragg and several of his principal officers.
It was reported that General Bragg had been reinforced by the remainder of Longstreet's corps, and that he had withdrawn the corps of General Breckenridge and General Hindman from the front of the Federal position at Chattanooga. These two corps were said to be "moving in force on the Federal left," and it was likewise asserted that the Confederates had made "another incursion" into Kentucky. It was rumoured that the Federals had made "an attack upon the rear" of the Confederate positions at Rome and Atlanta, in Georgia.
The Memphis Bulletin states that General Joe Johnston, with his entire force, except one division, has gone to reinforce Bragg, and that there were not over 10,000 Confederate troops in Mississippi.
The siege of Charleston still flags, but it was again asserted that General Gilmore's batteries were nearly ready to open fire on the city.
A grand review of the Southern troops by General Beauregard took place on the 16th ult., that being the ninety-eighth day of the siege.
The Richmond Examiner contains the following, under date Oct. 20:--"The Yankees are hard at work constructing another battery east of Gregg, fronting the sea. A large number of tents has disappeared from Morris Island. Our batteries kept up a brisk fire upon the Yankees, who appear in much larger numbers than usual at Gregg and Wagner. General D. H. Hill has been relieved of his command. Breckenridge takes command of his corps."
Advices from Folly Island and Morris Island to Oct. 18, in regard to affairs at Charleston, are to the following effect:--"Nothing of interest has occurred during the past week. There has been little firing on either side. The Confederates appear to be awaiting the opening of General Gilmore's guns on the city. In the meantime they are not idle, a new battery having belched forth its thunder from James Island, proving that they are still adding to the number of the fortifications. It is stated that the Confederates have several rams in Pocotahgo River, which cause no little uneasiness in regard to our vessels in Port Royal Harbour. It is proposed to place a number of torpedoes across the stream to prevent their egress. Admiral Dahlgren, a short time since, expressed his determination to an officer high in rank to go up to Charleston on the next trial, or else assure himself that the ironclads are unequal to the task. This will enhance the excitement of the conflict, and do much towards settling the dispute as to the amount of work the ironclads are capable of performing. It is believed that James Island is occupied by 5000 Confederate troops. Sullivan Island is supposed to be occupied by about the same number, and in the immediate vicinity of Charleston are quartered 10,000 men, making an aggregate force of about 20,000."
The following is President Lincoln's proclamation, calling for 300,000 volunteers:--
Whereas, the term of service of part of the volunteer forces of the United States will expire during the coming year; and whereas, in addition to the men raised by the present draught, it is deemed expedient to obtain 300,000 volunteers to serve for three years or the war, not, however, exceeding three years; now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, and Commander-in-Chief of the army and navy thereof, and of the militia of the several States when called into actual service, do issue this, my proclamation, calling upon the Governors of the different States to raise and have enlisted into the service of the United States, for the various companies and regiments in the field from their respective States, their quotas of 300,000 men.
I further proclaim that all the volunteers thus called out and duly enlisted shall receive advance pay, premium, and bounty, as heretofore communicated to the Governors of States by the War Department through the Provost-Marshal General's office by special letters.
I further proclaim that all volunteers received under this call, as well as all others not heretofore credited, shall be duly credited, and deducted from the quotas established for the next draught.
I further proclaim that if any State shall fail to raise the quota assigned to it by the War Department under this call, then a draught for the deficiency in said quota shall be made in said State, or on the districts of said State, for their due proportion of said quota, and the said draught shall commence on the 5th day of January, 1864.
And I further proclaim that nothing in this proclamation shall interfere with existing orders, or with those which may be issued for the present draught in the States where it is now in progress, or where it has not yet commenced.
The quotas of the States and districts will be assigned by the War Department through the Provost-Marshal General's office, due regard being had for the men heretofore furnished, whether by volunteering or draughting, and the recruiting will be conducted in accordance with such instructions as have been or may be issued by that department.
In issuing this proclamation I address myself not only to the Governors of the several States, but also to the good and loyal people thereof, invoking them to lend their cheerful, willing, and effective aid to the measures thus adopted, with a view to reinforce our victorious armies now in the field, and bring our needful military operations to a prosperous end, thus closing for ever the fountains of sedition and civil war.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this 17th day of October, in the year of our Lord 1863, and of the independence of the United States the 88th.By the President. Abraham Lincoln.
Wm. H. Seward, Secretary of State.
Governor Seymour has issued a proclamation calling upon all classes in New York State earnestly to assist in furnishing the States' quota of volunteers. He asserts that the Federal military situation in Virginia and Tennessee was most critical; that the armies were threatened with serious disaster for want of adequate force; and declares that it was the duty of all citizens, and that he should expect it of them, as well as of all State officials, to give efficient and cheerful aid in the furtherance of the appeal of the President.
The Governor of New Jersey has urged the people to respond to President Lincoln's call for volunteers.
The New York city banquet to the officers of the Russian fleet took place on the 20th ult., at Astor House. Governor Seymour sent a letter of apology for his absence. Mr. Seward did the same, but promised that, should the Russian fleet come to Washington, he would show that he sympathised with the feelings of respect and good-will entertained by the Common Council and people of New York towards Russia. He suggested, as a toast,
"Health and Honour to Prince Gortschakoff, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs--not more able in defending the policy of his own country than just and liberal in conducting its relations with the United States."
In the speeches that followed the similarity between the Russian and American empires was dwelt upon, and acts of good-will performed by the officers of the one empire to the other were narrated. Of course, Poland was not mentioned.
From the South there is one item of intelligence, proving at least that the sympathy with the Confederate cause, of which England is accused by the North, is not rated very highly by the Government of Richmond. President Davis has suspended the British Consuls from their functions, and ordered them to quit the territory as soon as possible. There has long been a popular agitation with this object, which the departure of Mr. Mason may have strengthened. As the Consuls were originally accredited to the Federal Government, it has been a great Southern grievance that they were permitted to discharge their duties in the Southern ports. The plea on which they are now removed--that they had counselled British subjects conscripted into the Confederate armies to throw down their arms whenever they might be brought into action--is immaterial, the act itself having long been foreseen as unavoidable; but it adds one more complication to the general entanglement of American affairs.
President Lincoln has replied to the Missouri delegation that he refused to remove General Schofield. "The commander in Missouri," he said, "is responsible to the President, and not to the Radicals or Conservatives."
There are now twenty-seven journals in Missouri which advocate immediate emancipation.
Secretary Stanton has gone to Tennessee on a tour of inspection.
The New York Supreme Court had refused the motion to remove the action against Mr. Seward for false imprisonment to the Federal Courts, and had denied President Lincoln's power to authorise arbitrary arrests.
Mr. Chase has made a speech in Ohio, in which he declared that Mr. Vallandigham's defeat branded with the lie the saying of the rotten old European monarchies that the American people had no capacity for self-government.
Eighty national banks, with an aggregate capital of 10,340,000 dols., have already been authorised to commence operations in the United States.
The Southern journals are dissatisfied with Earl Russell's speech at Blairgowrie, and exhibit firmer confidence in a friendly interference on the part of France.
According to advices received in Liverpool from New York on the 10th ult., three steamers arrived at New Orleans, all laden with cotton--viz., The Empress, with 2711 bales; the New Orleans, with 444 bales and 804 bags; the Benjamin Franklin, with 170 bales and 40 bags; and the Meteor, with 45 bales; making a total of 3370 bales, and 844 bags. The most important piece of intelligence, however, is that several of the most influential and wealthy planters of Mississippi had taken the oath of allegiance.
The steamer Douro, which was captured last spring by the Federal steamer Quaker City, condemned, sold, and taken to the British provinces, was run ashore on the North Carolina coast, and burnt on the 11th ult., by the Federal steamer Mansemond. The Douro was endeavouring to run the blockade from Wilmington, with a valuable cargo of cotton, tobacco, turpentine, and resin.