Foreign and Colonial NewsThe Illustrated London News, vol. 40, no. 1141, p. 408.
April 26, 1862
By the arrival of the Montreal Company's steamer Jura we have news from New York to the afternoon of the 12th inst.
On the 10th the Merrimac, with several gun-boats and tugs, reappeared at Newport News and Sewell's Point, and captured three small vessels. The Federal iron-clad steamers, Nangatuck and Monitor, fired four shots at the Merrimac, which thereupon retired to Craney Island.
The British steamer Phaeton is reported to have arrived at the mouth of the Rio Grande. The Commander is said to have stated that his mission was to keep open the navigation of the Rio Grande at all hazards. The Rio Grande divides the State of Texas from Mexico. It was at the port of Metamoras, on this river, that the British steamer Labuan was wrongfully captured a few weeks since.
The Federal army under General M'Clellan arrived in front of the Confederate works at Yorktown on the 5th inst. General M'Clellan reports that "the position of the rebels is a strong one. From present indications their fortifications extend some two miles in length and mount heavy guns. The ground in front of their heavier guns is low and swampy, making it impassable."
The Federals commenced an attack with artillery, which was replied to by the Confederate batteries. The cannonading on both sides was without material result. The latest accounts estimate the Confederate forces at 60,000, and represent their intrenchments as stretching entirely across Yorktown peninsula, from James to York River.
At Pittsburg Landing, near Corinth, has been fought the bloodiest battle which ever took place on United States' soil. On Sunday morning, the 6th instant, the Confederates under Beauregard and Johnstone fell on General Grant's division with great fury. They drove in the left wing of the Federals, commanded by General Prentiss, and captured the commander. By five o'clock in the afternoon the Confederates occupied two-thirds of the Federal camp, and bade fair to drive them into the river. A Federal account says: "Our condition at this moment was extremely critical. Large numbers of men panicstruck, others worn out by hard fighting, with the average percentage of skulkers, had straggled towards the river and could not be rallied." The Federal artillery now stood them in good stead, and enabled them, with the aid of two gun-boats which now came up, to hold their ground till nightfall. During the night both forces lay on their arms on the field. Before dawn large reinforcements, headed by General Buell, reached the exhausted Unionists. The latter now became the assailants, and their artillery made terrible havoc in the enemy's ranks. Reinforcements continued to arrive, and at 3p.m. General Grant ordered the decisive charge. At 5.30 the Confederates were in full retreat for their strong position at Corinth, pursued by the Federal cavalry. No official accounts have yet been published, but the Federals admit a loss of 7000, including 2000 prisoners. General Beauregard,in his report of the first day's battle, says, "We gained a complete victory. General Albert Sydney Johnston was killed while leading the troops in the thickest of the fight."
The Federals have occupied Huntsville, in Alabama, and have landed and cut the wires of the telegraph between New Orleans and Mobile.
Island No.10 has at last fallen, but not until, by cutting a canal and running two gun-boats past the Confederate batteries to New Madrid, the Federals threatened to take the island in the rear. General Halleck thus recapitulates the success, which was won without the loss of a single life:—
General Pope has captured three Generals, 6000 prisoners of war, 100 siege-pieces and several field batteries, with immense quantities of smallarms, tents, waggons, and horses.
The floating battery of the Confederates, and several of their transports, steamers, and gun-boats, have also fallen into the hands of the victors. In consequence of this event Memphis lies at the mercy of the Federals.
A sudden enthusiasm for ironplated gun-boats has arisen. The Charlestonians have subscribed nearly 4,000,000 dols. for the gun-boat fund, and ladies have sent watches, chains, and jewellery to be raffled for with the same object. Throughout the Gulf States church bells, old brass, clockweights, and lead-piping, are sent in daily for cannon and bullets. The British steamer Economist has arrived at a Southern port with a valuable cargo of military stores.
A cruel civil war is raging in the interior of Tennessee between the native Unionists (many of whom are returned exiles) and the Secessionists. Neighbours were daily killing each other in casual rencontres.
The news from the capital is more than usually important. President Lincoln has issued a proclamation for a day of thanksgiving for the late victories, and on account of the danger of foreign intervention and invasion having been averted from the country, and had submitted to Congress a new treaty between Great Britain and the United States regarding the suppression of the slave trade.
The House of Representatives has passed the bill for the abolition of slavery in the district of Columbia by 93 to 39. It has also sent the Tax Bill up to the Senate.
The Senate has passed the bill removing all disability from coloured persons to carry the mails.
Lord Edward Cavendish, Lord Cecil, and Colonel Percy had arrived at Washington; and Mr. W. H. Russell, the special correspondent of the Times, had left for England in consequence of the discourtesy manifested towards him by the military authorities in ejecting him, his waggon, and his baggage from the steam-boat which was taking him and others to Fortress Monroe, where he intended to have followed the fortunes of the army now before Yorktown.
The people of Western Virginia have voted in favour of emancipating their slaves on the terms offered by the Federal Government.
Colonel Michael Doheny, a Young Ireland leader in 1846-8, died in Brooklyn in the early part of this month.