Foreign and Colonial NewsThe Illustrated London News, vol. 45, no. 1284, p. 406.
October 22, 1864
The arrival of the North American gives us intelligence from New York to the evening of the 8th inst.
The details of the battles of the 29th and 30th ult., in the neighbourhood of Richmond, have been received, and show that the fighting was of a more sanguinary character than was at first reported. On the 29th ult. two Federal corps, under Generals Ord and Birney, which had suddenly crossed from the south to the north bank of the James River, advanced towards Richmond, and carried the works at Chapin's Bluff and Newmarket Heights, but subsequently failed to take a position held by the Confederates at Laurel Hill, and withdrew to the junction of the Varina and Newmarket Roads. On the 30th ult. the Confederates unsuccessfully attempted to retake the positions captured by the Federals on the previous day. On the 1st inst. there was no fighting, though a Federal reconnaissance was pushed on towards Richmond. In these engagements the Federal correspondents put their losses to at least 2000 men; and their black regiments, which are said to have behaved very gallantly, suffered especially great losses. Active operations on the south of the James River did not commence before the 30th ult., on which day two Federal corps advanced, on the extreme left of the Federal lines, and carried some Confederate positions, but were ultimately stopped by a strong line of defences. On the 1st inst. the Federals advanced a little farther, but then halted, as they found the Confederates behind earthworks which it was not prudent to assault. The Confederates still held positions covering the Southside Railway and the road by which they communicate with the Weldon Railway, and their defences were too formidable to be easily stormed. In these actions on the south of the James River the Federal correspondents admit losses amounting to more than 2000 men, of whom more than half were made prisoners on the 30th ult. The Federal losses in both days is admitted by Mr. Stanton to have been 4000. The Confederate losses were also severe. There seems to have been a pause in the fighting for some days. On the 7th inst. the Confederates attacked General Butler's lines on the north of the James River, and drove in the troops of General Kautz, whose guns they captured. They then attacked the position occupied by General Birney's corps, but were repulsed, and Birney retook the position, which had been held by General Kautz, and forced back the Confederates "to their inner line of defences." The Northern papers contain a report that the larger portion of Grant's corps has recrossed from the north side of the James River, but state that he retains his position in the surrounding forts. Both sides were fortifying and preparing for a great struggle.
Sheridan reports himself at Harrisonburg, preparing to resume the attack on the Confederate forces, which hold fast to the Blue Ridge, in front of Charlottesville. The New York papers point out that he has a difficult task before him, but express the utmost confidence that he will accomplish it.
In Western Virginia the Federals had made an attack on Saltville and been badly repulsed.
We get a few details of the recent movements of Hood's army. This force left its position at Jonesborough, between Atlanta and Macon, on the 19th ult., under circumstances which led the Confederate newspapers of Georgia to promise great success for their cause. It moved at first to Montgomery and West Point Railroad. By the beginning of October it became apparent that one of the objects of this movement was to be better able to effect the destruction of the railroad in Sherman's rear. Telegrams from Griffin, near Macon, to the Richmond papers, dated Oct. 4, stated that all accounts agreed that Hood was right in Sherman's rear, and held the road from Vining to Marietta. Sherman, it was added, would be obliged to cut his way out of Atlanta in a very few days. It soon appeared, however, that Hood had no intention of placing his army where it could be so easily attacked, and that only a division or two had been sent to Sherman's rear. On the 4th of October a Confederate force captured Big Shanty, upon which Sherman sent out General French with 7000 men to meet them, and on the 6th an action took place. The fight lasted six hours, and the Federals lost 300, while the Confederates left 1000 killed and wounded in their hands. The Confederates retreated to Dallas. The railroad in Sherman's rear was being rapidly repaired.
The Governor of Georgia had rejected General Sherman's proposal for an informal peace conference.
The Confederates had entered Arkansas and were moving against Little Rock. If they succeed in capturing it they intend to combine with General Price, who is making a victorious march through Missouri, and approaching Jefferson, the capital of the State, with the intention of capturing it and establishing a State Government. The Federal General Ewing's brigade, which had been compelled to evacuate Pilot Knob, had succeeded in completing its retreat to Rolla, though 300 prisoners fell into the hands of General Price.
The Macon Telegraph contains a speech alleged to have been delivered by Jefferson Davis, asserting that Sherman will be compelled to re-enact the retreat of Moscow, that the independence of the South would be established, and the enemy defeated if half the absent troops returned to their duty. The Southern press is dissatisfied with the speech, and doubts its genuineness.
The Federal authorities in Tennessee had ordered a conscription of all men, white or black, between eighteen and forty-five years of age, and had announced that all persons in Tennessee who may vote at the coming presidential election must swear to oppose an armistice and peace negotiations with armed rebels until constitutional laws and constitutional proclamations are re-established throughout the State.
Secretary Fessenden had issued proposals for a new loan of 40,000,000 dollars, to bear six per cent interest, payable in gold. The amount of the public debt announced on Sept. 30 is 1960 million dollars. The latest quotation of gold at New York was 99 prem.