Foreign and Colonial IntelligenceThe Illustrated London News, vol. 46, no. 1304, p. 198.
March 4, 1865
By the Inman steam-ship City of London, we have news from New York to the 18th ult., when gold was quoted at 104½ per cent premium.
General Sherman occupied Branchville on the 8th ult. According to the statement of a Federal courier, who was said to have left General Sherman's army and to have ridden across the country to Smithville, near the mouth of Cape Fear River, the occupation of Branchville was preceded by three days' hard fighting; but the Richmond journals made no mention of any battle, merely announcing that Branchville was abandoned because the Federals had occupied Orangeburg, and that General Beauregard had taken up a new line for the purpose of covering Columbia. The latest accounts from Richmond stated that the vanguard of General Sherman's army had reached the south bank of the Congaree River at a point a few miles east of Columbia; that the Confederates had fallen back to the north bank of the stream, and that a battle was imminent. A steamer, under a flag of truce, had brought from Richmond rumours (not very trustworthy) that General Sherman had been checked and General Beauregard killed.
Nothing important had occurred in the neighbourhood of Richmond or Petersburg. General Grant was busily engaged in fortifying his new position at Hatcher's Run. He has extended his pickets to Shiney Creek.
The Federals were continuing their operations against Wilmington. General Terry had made three attacks on the Confederate lines at Sugarloaf, north of Cape Fear River, all of which, though assisted by the whole of Porter's fleet, were repulsed by the Confederates. The result of a reconnaissance at Wilmington was, we are told, the advance of the Federal lines three miles. The new ground was held and works thrown up on it as strong as those to which the Confederates had retreated. Lieutenant Cushing made another reconnaissance to the obstructions opposite Fort Anderson, crossed the obstructions, passed up to Wilmington, and made a complete examination of the wharves and shipping. He also proceeded to Charlotte, North Carolina, and destroyed all the provisions there.
Three thousand Federals had effected a landing at James Island, within three miles of Charleston. The object of the movement was unknown.
General Thomas had arrived in New Orleans; but it was not known how large a part of his army he had taken with him, or whether his operations were to be directed against Mobile or against Texas.
At the great war meeting held in Richmond Mr. Benjamin, the Secretary of State, delivered a speech strongly enforcing the necessity of employing negroes as Confederate soldiers. The Richmond Senate, however, has taken a different view of affairs; and, while that body has decided upon the employment of 40,000 negroes in a menial capacity in the army, it has voted down the proposal to arm two hundred thousand of them.
The plan of the new Confederate flag, submitted some time ago by Major Rogers for the consideration of Congress, has been adopted by the Military Committee of the House and Senate, and will henceforth be the national emblem of the Confederate States. The change made in the flag consists in the division of the field into a white bar and a red bar in equal proportion, the red bar being at the outer end of the field.
President Lincoln has called an extrordinary [sic] session of the Senate for the 4th of March, "to receive and act upon such communications as may be made on the part of the Executive."
Mr. Fessenden has submitted to the Committee of Ways and Means a financial plan for the next fiscal year. It provides for the issue of a loan of 600,000,000 dols. in such form of bonds and such rates of interest, not exceeding 6 per cent, as may seem most advisable to the Secretary. The total public debt on Feb. 1 is officially announced at 2,000,153,000,000 dols.; the total interest is 98,130,000 dols.
The Federal House of Representatives had passed a bill imposing a duty of ½ per cent on all sales and an internal revenue tax of eight cents per pound on cotton.
The Senate has refused an appropriation for the Niagara Ship Canal.
Congress has passed a bill for the establishment of a mail steam-ship line between San Francisco and China.
Captain Beales, concerned in the Lake Erie affair, and sentenced to be hanged, has been respited.
Minnesota and Kansas have ratified the constitutional amendment, making fifteen States who have adopted it. The majority report of the judiciary committee of the Kentucky State Senate recommends the rejection of the constitutional amendment. The minority report insists on compensation as a condition to precede the ratification.
Letters from Petrolia state that wells, rich and valuable, are being every week struck.