Foreign and Colonial NewsThe Illustrated London News, vol. 40, no. 1134, p. 241.
By the arrival of the Cunard steamer America we have telegrams from Halifax to the 21st ult., Boston journals to the 19th ult., and New York journals of the day previous. The Federals have obtained such a decided military success as to afford ground for the belief that the Confederate Government will be shortlived.
Fort Donnelson, on the Cumberland River, was invested on the 13th, and, after three days' hard fighting, was surrendered unconditionally. The land forces of the Federals numbered 40,000 men, under the command of General Grant. Commodore Foote brought up six gun-boats (four of them iron-plated) to the attack on the river side. From the moment of the investment of the fort the Federal troops lay on their arms night and day, half the time without provisions, all the time without tents, and a portion in a heavy storm of rain and snow. The gun-boat attack was unsuccessful, Commodore Foote acknowledging that four of his boats were disabled, and forty-one of his men killed and wounded. The total loss of the Federals on land and water is at least 300 killed and 700 wounded and missing. The loss of officers is very heavy. The Confederate loss of life is less heavy, as they fought behind intrenchments. They are, however, minus an army and some of their best Generals. Fifteen thousand men capitulated, including Generals Sydney Johnston (who shared with Beauregard the honours of Bull Run), Buckner, and Bushrod. General Floyd escaped with 5000 men during the night preceding the surrender. He and his force went up the river on board some steamers without the knowledge of their superior officers. The Confederates lost, besides forty-eight field-pieces, seven heavy guns, twenty thousand stand of arms, and a large quantity of commissary stores. On the morning of the surrender the Federal troops were about to storm the fort with the bayonet.
The news of this great success was received with great rejoicing in Congress, among the army of the Potomac, and generally throughout the Country. Congress passed resolutions thanking the army and navy. How it has affected the people of the Seceding States we do not yet know, but the impression is general that the resistance to the victorious armies of the Union will soon cease. General Grant has been promoted to the rank of Major-General.
Commodore Foote is already pressing on to Clarksville, about twenty miles above Fort Donnelson. The Confederates have already evacuated Clarksville. They will make their next stand in defence of the important manufacturing city of Nashville. General Beauregard has fallen back on this city from Bowling Green, Kentucky. The Federal army, commanded by General Mitchell, is close on his rear.
General Price, beaten out of Missouri, is being pursued by the Federals through Arkansas. Much of his baggage, several officers, and a considerable number of privates belonging to the rear of his army, have been captured.
The official account of the exploits of this expedition have appeared. General Burnside announces that he captured on Roanoke Island six forts, forty guns, 2500 prisoners, and upwards of 3000 small arms. The Federal loss was thirty-five killed and about 200 wounded. Commodore Goldsborough occupied Edenton on the 12th, without opposition. In view of these reverses, Governor Letcher, of Virginia, has issued a proclamation stating that recent reverses "demand an exhibition of all our energies, an uncompromising spirit, and stern and determined resolution." He recommends a levée en masse of the whole of the male population between the ages of sixteen and sixty.
The House of Representatives has passed the bill making Treasury notes a legal tender, with the Senate's amendment making the interest on the National Debt payable in coin.
Mr. Fish and Bishop Ames have agreed with the Confederate Government on an exchange of prisoners. At the time when the negotiation was concluded the Confederates held 300 prisoners more than the number held by the Federals.
The War Department has issued an order directing the release of all political prisoners, except spies, on their subscribing a parole engaging them to render no aid to the enemies of the United States. To all such persons who shall keep their parole the President has granted an amnesty for any past offences of treason or disloyalty. Extraordinary arrests will henceforth be made under the direction of the military authorities alone.
The New York and Philadelphia journals preserve an entire silence on the subject of Earl Russell's closing despatch on the Trent affair. This is a sign that it commands the respect if not the acquiescence of the journalists, and that they prefer to leave the consideration of the points involved to the Secretary of State and the jurists of the country. Elated, however, by the recent victories, they begin to carp at the Mexican expedition, and to warn the Allies that the American people will not permit the restoration of a European monarchy on their southern border. The Boston Advertiser devotes a column to the discussion of Earl Russell's despatch, the positions of which meet with its approval as enlarging the rights of neutrals.
Considerable popular excitement exists in New York concerning the approaching execution of Captain Gordon, the slavetrader. Numerous petitions have been forwarded to Washington to commute the sentence. Public sympathy runs high in favour of the condemned. Professor Agassiz is delivering a series of popular lectures on natural history in Irving Hall, New York.
The last accounts from California state that an extraordinary emigration to the goldfields of British Columbia is expected to take place this spring. One steamer had just sailed from San Francisco with 500 passengers for that destination.