Foreign and Colonial IntelligenceThe Illustrated London News, vol. 46, no. 1297, p. 26.
January 14, 1865
By the Peruvian we have news from New York to the evening of Dec. 31.
Savannah has fallen into the hands of the Federals. General Sherman thus pithily notifies the welcome fact to President Lincoln:--
I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah, with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton.
General Sherman occupied the city on the morning of the 21st ult., and found the 20,000 inhabitants, he says, "quiet and well disposed." The Confederate General Hardee had previously rejected a summons to surrender; but during the 20th ult. he succeeded in transporting all his infantry and field artillery across the river from the city to a place called Union Causeway, and had thus escaped the assault which the Federals intended to make, and withdrawn his troops before the Federal works had advanced enough to impede his passage of the river. Savannah advices of the 26th ult. report that an effort was being made to intercept General Hardee's retreat before he could reach the Broad River; but the Richmond journals stated that General Hardee had arrived at Charleston.
As a set-off against the Federal success at Savannah, we have to record the failure of the Federal attack on Wilmington. General Butler had returned to Fort Monroe, and the transports with his troops on board were also arriving there. Admiral Porter, with his frigates and monitors, had proceeded to Beaufort, and was there awaiting further orders. Admiral Porter, in his report of the operations, stated that on the 24th ult., after a large powder-ship had been blown up under the walls of Fort Fisher, without doing any damage, his fleet bombarded the fort, and in an hour silenced the Confederate fire. On the afternoon of the 25th 3000 troops, under the command of General Weitzel, landed under cover of the fire from the fleet, captured two batteries, and advanced within fifty yards of Fort Fisher, some of the men even entering the outworks. General Weitzel, however, deemed a successful attack impracticable, and re-embarked on the same evening, though about 1000 men remained ashore during the following day, in consequence of the state of the weather. General Butler informed Admiral Porter, on the night of the 25th ult., that an assault was impracticable, as Fort Fisher was substantially uninjured as a defensive work by the navy fire, and could only be reduced by a regular siege; and he added that he should return to Fort Monroe as soon as the transports for his troops were ready. Admiral Porter vainly assured General Butler that the fire of his ships could keep the Confederates inside the fort from showing their heads until a storming column should be within twenty yards of the works, and that the capture of the fort by assault, if attempted, would have been easier than was supposed. An interesting feature in Admiral Porter's report is his condemnation of the 100-pounder Parrott guns, which he says were unfit for the service. Six of them burst, killing and wounding forty-five men.
The notion of the powder-ship which, as stated above, was blown up near Fort Fisher with such trivial result, was suggested by the effect of the explosion at Erith; and the method of fitting out and firing the vessel is thus described:--
The United States steam gun-boat Louisiana was taken to the Norfolk Navy yard about a month ago, and such changes made in her as would adapt her to receive the powder. She was also disguised as much as possible, so as to give her the appearance of a blockade-runner. After all the required changes had been made the Louisiana was towed to Craney Island, where she was loaded. The hold was left empty, as the powder at the explosion was desired to be as much as possible above water. The powder was contained in a bulkhead occupying a portion of the berth-deck and extending nearly to the boilers. the first tier of powder was placed in barrels with the heads taken out, and the remainder was in bags. For the purpose of exploding the powder, there were three clock-fuses placed in the vessel, one in each gangway and one aft, near the boilers. From each of these a patent Gomez fuse led completely round the vessel, and terminated one in the hold and the others in the centre of the berth-deck. Any one of the fuses ignited would fire all the others, because each one crossed one of the others, and wherever they crossed they were grafted. There were no absolute soundings of the shore in the vicinity of Fort Fisher, and it was only a matter of conjecture how near the Louisiana could go before she ran aground. When her bottom first grated the sand her furnace-doors were to be thrown open, the engines left running, and caps placed upon the fuses, the clocks set, and everybody hurriedly transferred to the picket launch, the tug, and the boats. The explosion was expected to take place in thirty or forty minutes, and by that time the party, with their steam-launch, would probably be five miles away. A provision was made, however, in case something should occur--some accident befall the launch. Under such circumstances they were to take the surf-boat and row for life till
Page 27just within the time for the explosion, when they were to jump overboard, go with ropes and buoys as far as possible from the boat, submerge to the head, and, with cotton in their ears, await the shock.
The Federals have been again repulsed in an attempt to land on Roanoke Island; and an expedition by Granger against Mobile had, according to Confederate accounts, been driven back.
There are contradictory reports as to Hood's movement. One account says that he had crossed the Tennessee. Another states that the Federal gun-boats had prevented him from crossing, and even adds that the remnant of his army had been captured.
Although it was declared that the Federal Generals Stoneman and Burbridge had been defeated in Western Virginia, it seems that they have captured Saltville, the great manufactory of salt for the South.
At Richmond there has been no new movement, but it was reported that Lee was preparing to attack the Federals. The Southern press urge Lee's appointment as Commander-in-Chief of the armies of the Confederacy.
President Lincoln has been made an LL.D. by the College of New Jersey.
The President has remitted the sentence of the court-martial upon Admiral Wilkes to a period of one year from its date. The sentence suspended him three years from the service.
The Brazilian demand for explanation and reparation for the seizure of the Florida has been replied to by a note from Mr. Seward. Regret is expressed for the proceeding at Bahia. Captain Collins is suspended and ordered to be tried by court-martial. The United States Consul at Bahia is dismissed, and the men captured in the Florida are to be set at liberty. Mr. Seward says the United States have a complaint against Brazil for recognising the Confederates as belligerents, but he adds that it is no part of the duty of an officer to take upon himself the redressing of his country's wrongs.
President Jefferson Davis has issued a declaration that B. G. Burley--who has been apprehended in Canada, and who headed the men who endeavoured to take the steamer Michigan on Lake Erie and then release the Confederate prisoners on Johnson's island--is a Confederate officer, and acted under the authority of the Confederate Government.
The esteemed veteran English actor, Mr. James William Wallack--a contemporary of Edmund Keen and Elliston--died at New York on Christmas Day, aged sixty-nine, having been born in London in 1795. He made his first appearance in America at the Park Theatre, New York, in 1818, and his great success and popularity with the play-going public of that city induced him to divide his time thenceforth between England and the United States. In 1836 he opened the National Theatre, New York, and remained manager of it until it was destroyed by fire, in 1839. He then returned to England, and played for some time at the Princess's Theatre. In 1851 he once more crossed the Atlantic, with the intention of residing permanently in America. The New York papers record his decease with strong expressions of sympathy and regret.
The steam-ship North America foundered while on her voyage from New Orleans to New York. She had on board 203 sick soldiers, twelve cabin passengers, and a crew of forty-four men. Of these only sixty-two persons were saved. Among the lost were Colonel Saunders and Lieutenant-Colonel Horn.
The Governor of Canada issued a proclamation offering a reward of 200 dollars for the apprehension of each of the St. Albans raiders. More of the raiders have been re-apprehended in Canada, and sent for examination to Montreal. Their trial began on the 27th ult., in the Superior Court, before Mr. Justice Smith. It was stated that three of the raiders had made their way into the United States, and had enlisted into the Federal service in New Hampshire, but had been recognised and arrested.