Foreign and Colonial NewsThe Illustrated London News, vol. 44, no. 1256, p. 438.
May 7, 1864
By the Peruvian we have news from New York to the 23rd ult.
The transmission of news from Virginia has been stopped by the Federal Government; and it was consequently supposed that either General Lee or General Grant had put his army in motion. Confederate deserters reported that General Longstreet's corps was moving down the Shenandoah Valley, and that ten days' rations had been issued to General Lee's army. General Grant had left Washington for the front, and General Burnside had gone to Fort Monroe, where large bodies of Federal troops were arriving from the coast of South Carolina. General Kilpatrick has been relieved from his command in the army of the Potomac, and ordered to report to General Sherman. It is reported that Grant will give M'Clellan an active command.
The Confederates had suddenly assumed the offensive in North Carolina, and had attacked Plymouth. An attempt made by land on the 17th ult. to take Fort Gray, the work which defends that town, was unsuccessful; but a "ram"--probably one of the iron-clad steamers which rumour had for some time asserted that the Confederates were building up the North Carolina rivers--sank three Federal gun-boats, and obtained full command of the River Roanoke below Plymouth, thus intercepting the garrison's communications. Several gun-boats had left Fort Monroe to aid the Federals, and the garrison of Plymouth was said to be well supplied with provisions, and to be able to hold out.
In Florida the Federals had abandoned Pilatka [i.e., Palatka], and another of their transports had been sunk by torpedoes in the St. John's River.
The greater part of the town of Hickman, in Kentucky, had been burned by Confederate guerrillas.
A severe engagement occurred on the 8th ult., between the advance of General Banks's army and the Confederates, at Pleasant Hill, beyond Grand Ecore, Louisiana. The Federal cavalry in front were routed, causing a demoralised retreat of the infantry in the rear. The 19th Army Corps of 7000 then advanced, checking the Confederate progress. The Federals estimate their loss at 2000 men and one battery. The Confederates, however, estimate the Federal loss at 4000 men. General Banks's defeat has been confirmed, but there is a report of a Federal victory achieved on the following day. Of this, however, there is no confirmation in the latest news. The Confederates attacked the Federal fleet designed to co-operate with Banks, but were repulsed with great loss.
The Federals have been driven from Big Black River, with the loss of several hundred prisoners.
A committee had been appointed to inquire into the truth of the accounts of the massacre by the Confederates at Fort Pillow; and President Lincoln had declared that if those accounts were true he would order some retaliation to be made, though he could not yet determine the form or extent of that retaliation. General Sherman states, in his official report, that the place was taken after a comparatively slight resistance, during which about 150 of the garrison were killed and wounded, and 300 of the negro soldiers were then murdered in cold blood.
The Governors of four Western States, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana, had arrived at Washington for the purpose of urging President Lincoln to call out 200,000 volunteers for six months; and the Governor of New York had offered the services of the militia for the occupation of all the Federal forts in that state.
The House of Representatives was debating a tax bill, and Secretary Chase had declared in a letter that it was necessary to provide by taxation for at least one half of the Government's expenditure.
Congress was discussing a bill providing for the introduction of European immigrants, who are to repay to the Federal Government out of their wages the cost of their passage.
Both Houses of the New York State Legislature have passed a resolution to pay the interest of the State debts to all creditors in greenbacks. The Governor has urged the Legislature to reconsider its resolution to pay the interest of the State debt in currency.
The Lieutenant of the Vanderbildt [sic] was being tried by a naval court-martial at New York for the murder of the mate of the Saxon.
The premium on gold at New York fell on the 21st ult., to 65 per cent, but on the following day it rose to 75 per cent "under war rumours, and on account of the Government broker ceasing to sell gold," and the latest quotation on the 23rd was 77 per cent.
The Official Naval Register for 1864 has just been issued from the Government press. It reports the number of vessels, including those still building, to be 617: among them seventy-two ironclads and two rams--the Avenger and Vindicator. From Dec. 31, 1862, to March 6, 1864, the navy had lost thirty-nine vessels by capture, destruction, snagging, wreck, &c., including six ironclads and three rams.