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Foreign and Colonial News

The Illustrated London News, vol. 45, no. 1271, p. 110-111.

July 30, 1864

FOREIGN AND COLONIAL NEWS.
AMERICA.

The raid into Maryland has been brought to a close, and the Confederate forces have recrossed the Potomac, carrying with them immense quantities of plunder. On the 9th inst., the Confederates had reached a position midway between Baltimore and Washington, and were threatening both towns. An engagement took place with a strong Federal force under the command of General Wallace, in which the latter was defeated and forced to retire on Baltimore. Several of the bridges on the railroad connecting that town with Washington were destroyed, the telegraph-wires cut, and two trains captured, one of which contained a general officer and his Staff. Having approached Baltimore sufficiently close to burn the residence of the Governor of Maryland, which stood within four miles of that town, the invaders turned southward and made their appearance in the northern environs of Washington. A demonstration was made against one of the outlying forts. But on the 14th inst. the invading force withdrew from before Washington and recrossed the Potomac, carrying with it enormous stores and a large number of horses. Such, briefly told, are the events which took place in Maryland between the 9th and 14th inst. The Federals, who, it is stated, have been reinforced by the arrival of two divisions from General Grant's army, were reported to have also crossed the Potomac at Edward's Ferry, in pursuit.

The Governor of Pennsylvania had earnestly appealed to the people to volunteer for short service, and rather reproaches the Philadelphians for not displaying more alacrity in responding to his first call.

One of the correspondents of the New York Herald was in the train from Baltimore to Philadelphia, which was captured by the Confederates. He says:--

At forty minutes past nine the express train to New York started with passengers, your correspondent among the number. We reached Gunpowder river all safe, and immediately after passing the long trestle bridge, speed was increased. About two miles from the bridge, at Magnolia station, two or three pistol-shots were heard, when the train suddenly stopped, and a cry was raised, "The rebels are on us." But a few seconds elapsed before they entered the cars, carrying pistols in their hands. The first question asked was, "Are there any ladies in this car?" On being answered in the affirmative they ordered every lady to sit down. This was immediately followed by another order to "Clear out." It was while leaving the car that purses and watches were taken from the passengers. The request to hand them over was enforced by a cocked pistol held at the heads of the victimised passengers. The prisoners were then placed under a strong guard, and the cars set on fire, after the baggage and express cars had been emptied. Steam was then got up, the engine reversed, and the train of blazing cars run down to Gunpowder Bridge. A column of dense black smoke was soon seen rising in the direction of the bridge, and when the rebels who had been in charge of the bridge returned they said the bridge was burning finely, and would be totally consumed. Major-General Franklin was a passenger on board the first train. He was dressed in citizen's clothes, and when the rebels entered the car and asked him who he was, he replied, "Nobody of any account." The guard passed on a few yards, when a Baltimore lady (of whom there were a number on board) told him the General's rank and name. The guard returned and demanded his papers, which were of course handed over, and the General was taken from the car.

This correspondent notes the significant fact that a large number of the invaders were Marylanders themselves, and knew not only the country but the people. He says:--

They were under the command of Major Harry Gilmore, and consisted of twenty-five men belonging to the 1st Regiment Maryland Cavalry, and the balance belonging to the 2nd Maryland, Major Gilmore's own regiment. From their conversation I learned that the majority were residents of Maryland. They were armed with pistols, carbines, and sabres. The lady prisoners were remarkably well treated by the rebels, and it was somewhat amusing when the train was stopped to see the rebel horsemen ride up to the car windows, where they were greeted somewhat as follows:--"Why, Tom, is that you?" "How are you, Harry?" "Oh! come inside." Small white hands were grasped by the brown hard ones of the troopers and warmly shaken. Many of them dismounted, and, on entering the car, were very affectionately kissed by their lady friends. It appeared to be quite a joyful meeting. The other prisoners were treated very well, with the exception of being obliged to give up whatever any of their captors fancied he would like to possess. One gentlemen--a doctor, I believe--was compelled to draw off his boots and exchange them for a pair of dusty cowhide riding-boots, or rather leggings, as they were minus the soles. A rebel fancied my hat, and took it, with the remark, "Here, I want that hat!" at the same time giving me his tobacco-stained and rusty-looking felt in exchange. My haversack followed next. It contained, among other things, a number of despatches and a long list of casualties. The blanket followed shortly afterwards, and soon I, together with the majority of the prisoners, had no article of value left. The man who appropriated the haversack very kindly allowed me to retain two photographs and a toothbrush. Likenesses were in every instance returned to the owners, as were also any other small articles of no value to the rebels. As far as lay in their power, everything was done to make our situation pleasant. I am but performing an act of simple justice by stating that Major Harry Gilmore was not cognisant of the conduct of his men. He strictly prohibited all stealing from prisoners; but the event proved that the lawless troopers under his command could not be restrained from filching a purse or a watch when a fair opportunity presented itself.

The Times New York correspondent reports great indifference among the people of that city and of Pennsylvania (our own correspondent's State) with regard to the Confederate advance. He writes:--

Governor Curtis, of Pennsylvania, is both alarmed and indignant, and utterly at a loss to account for such lukewarmness--he will not call it cowardice--on the part of his people. In a proclamation addressed to the Mayor of Philadelphia and the people of Pennsylvania, he tells them candidly that they are not responding freely to his and the President's demands; urges them to come forward "like men" and "do their duty;" accuses them of stupidity in not understanding the gravity of the circumstances, and "prays to God to enlighten them, that the honour of their commonwealth may be preserved." But the people make no sign. The poor attend to their daily work as if nothing were amiss; and the rich send away their jewels, their plate, and their greenbacks to safer cities than their own--some even so far to the north as Boston, and some still further--to Toronto and Montreal, out of Federal jurisdiction altogether. The Mayor of New York, Mr. Gunther, in a letter to Major-General Sandford, commanding the New York militia, endeavours to persuade that officer that the true place for the militia is in New York and not in Washington. In this singular document he states "that in these times of general and local peril enlightened self-interest is emphatically the synonym of patriotism." Taking this curious aphorism as the basis of his argument, he furthermore states his "grave apprehensions" that the withdrawal of any considerable number of militiamen from the city at this moment, when the depreciation of the currency is bearing heavily upon the masses of the people, "might tempt the lawless and evil-disposed to avail themselves of what might seem to them a favourable opportunity for arson and plunder," and for that reason "earnestly pretests against any material reduction" of the local force. It is difficult, in view of public utterances so significant as these, and of the indifference, not to say the contempt, with which Mr. Lincoln's appeals for assistance are everywhere received, to avoid believing that at last the people are losing heart in the war, and that, if Mr. Lincoln cannot repel invasion and conquer the South by the abundant means already placed at his disposal, they are coming to the conclusion that peace cannot be made too soon. There is no longer any enthusiasm for the war, unless it be in the counting-houses of those who are making money by it. Even the Churches have lost faith, and Dr. Cheever sees nothing but ruin in the war if Mr. Lincoln is left to conduct it.

The only news we have of the forces before Petersburg is that the Confederates have made demonstrations on Grant's left, with the object of getting in his rear.

Accounts from Georgia stated that the Federal General Sherman had followed General Johnston's army across the Chattahooche River, and had arrived within sight of the defences of Atlanta.

Mr. Lincoln had issued the following proclamation of his policy on the question of reconstruction of the Union:--

Whereas, at the last Session, Congress passed a bill to guarantee to certain States, whose Governments have been usurped or overthrown, a Republican form of Government, a copy of which is hereunto annexed; and whereas the said bill was presented to the President of the United States for his approval less then one hour before the sine die adjournment of said Session, and was not signed by him; and whereas the said bill contains, among other things, a plan for restoring the States in rebellion to their proper practical relation in the Union, which plan expressed the sense of Congress upon that subject, and


Page 111

which plan it is now thought fit to lay before the people for their consideration:--

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do proclaim, declare, and make known that while I am, as I was in December last, when by proclamation I propounded a plan for restoration; and while I am also unprepared, by a formal approval of this bill, to be inflexibly committed to any single plan of restoration; and while I am also unprepared to declare that the Free State constitutions and governments already adopted and installed in Arkansas and Louisiana shall be set aside and held for nought, thereby expelling and discouraging the loyal citizens who have set up the same as to further effort, or to declare a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery throughout the nation, may be adopted. Nevertheless, I am fully satisfied with the system for restoration contained in the bill, as one very proper plan for the loyal people of any State choosing to adopt it; and I am, and at all times shall be, prepared to give the Executive aid and assistance to any such people as soon as the military resistance to the United States shall have been suppressed in any such State, and the people thereof shall have sufficiently returned to their obedience to the Constitution and the laws of the United States, in which case military governors will be appointed, with directions to proceed according to the bill. In testimony 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 8th day of July, in the year of our Lord one-thousand eight hundred and sixty-four, and of the independence of the United States the 89th.

By the President,

W. H. Seward, Secretary of State.

Abraham Lincoln.

Washington official records show that upwards of 150 female recruits have been discovered during the war. Over seventy of these martial demoiselles, when their sex was discovered, were acting as officers' servants.

The Confederate steamer Florida has been committing serious depredations on American shipping off the Virginia and North Carolina coast. It is reported that she has destroyed at least ten vessels. The Florida had also captured the transport-steamer Electric Spark, a fast vessel of 800 tons burden, carrying a valuable cargo of assorted goods, and bound for New Orleans. Several Federal gunboats have gone in pursuit of the Florida.

That the Northerners should crow over the destruction of the Alabama is but natural. The Washington Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Gideon Welles, in a despatch to Captain Winslow of the Kearsarge, sends him his promotion to Commodore, and does not forget to recall the English equipment of the Alabama. He says,

You will please express to the officers and crew of the Kearsarge the satisfaction of the Government at the victory over a vessel superior in tonnage, superior in number of guns, and superior in the number of her crew. The battle was so brief, the victory so decisive, and the comparative results so striking, that the country will be reminded of the brilliant actions of our infant navy, which have been repeated and illustrated in this engagement. The Alabama represented the best maritime effort of the most skilled English workshops. Her battery was composed of the well-tried 32-pounders of 57 cwt., of the famous 68-pounder of the British Navy, and of the only successful rifled 100-pounder yet produced in England. The crew were generally recruited in Great Britain, and many of them received superior training on board her Majesty's gunnery-ship Excellent.

Secretary Fessenden had appealed to the bankers of New York for a loan of 50,000,000 dols. until Sept. 1, to meet the immediate wants of Government; and it is stated that the bankers will accept the loan.

Gold, after advancing to 280½, closed on the 16th at 254½.

The State Convention of Maryland, now in session at Annapolis, has adopted, by a large majority, a constitutional amendment declaring that "hereafter in this State there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except in punishment of crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted; and all persons held to service or labour as slaves are hereby declared free."

A collision occurred on the 15th inst. between two trains on the Delaware and Lakawana Railway, in Pennsylvania, by which over a hundred persons--principally Confederate prisoners, who were being conveyed to the camp at Elmira, New York--were killed or wounded.

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