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London, Saturday, April 26, 1862

The Illustrated London News, vol. 40, no. 1141, p. 412.

April 26, 1862

LONDON, SATURDAY, APRIL 26, 1862.

Making all allowance for the evident exaggeration of the telegram news, we may be sure that the Americans have fought a very terrible battle, in which the amount of slaughter has been such as to make good men shudder and ask whether the time is not nearly at hand when disinterested mediation may be accepted. On the 6th the Confederates, under Beauregard, attacked the Federals near Corinth. If a reader will take the map and follow the course of the Mississippi to Memphis he will see, a little to the right, and before arriving at the Tennessee River, the site where this sanguinary engagement took place. The first portion of the battle was all in favour of the Southerners, who took the enemy's positions, inflicting heavy loss, and taking a great number of prisoners. But the fearful struggle was renewed next day, the North being strongly reinforced, and the Confederates were overpowered, and in their turn sustained great slaughter, losing many prisoners.

The Federals have an indisputable triumph on the River Mississippi. The Island "No. 10" has been captured, with a great number of prisoners, and important stores and munition of war. Mere bombardment has been ineffectual, when a bold and clever act of engineering gave the victory to the North. A new channel was hastily cut through some swampy soil, and this enabled gun-boats to be brought to a point whence their fire must have been fatal. The Southern Commander perceived the impending checkmate and surrendered. The loss of life in this Island affair seems to have been trifling.

But the eyes of America are now upon a third point. General M'Clellan and the army of the Potomac had advanced upon Yorktown, and it was stated that they speedily discovered that the defences of the Southerners had been sadly underrated. This is the way to Richmond, but it promised to be no easy route. The last authentic advices represent General M'Clellan as about to attack in force, and in the meantime to be exchanging a harmless-cannonade; but a "rumour" has been brought over that he had attacked, and that the Federals had been repulsed with severe loss. The truth is eagerly looked for.

Meantime, and we record the fact with a satisfaction alloyed only by the necessity of recognising the terrible conditions amid which the work has been done, the House of Representatives has adopted, by 93 to 39, a resolution for the appointment of a committee to inquire into the practicability of a plan for the gradual emancipation of slaves and extinction of slavery in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri. Whether this particular project be carried or not, here is a direct condemnation of slavery by the House of Commons of the North, and the inestimable moral value of such a demonstration must be clear to all the world. First by President Lincoln, next by the Representatives, has the slave system been branded as the accursed thing to be got rid of as soon as Providence shall permit. It was believed that the Senate would be of the same mind. These facts are a noble consolation amid the hideous features of this awful war, and it does not become Englishmen to be unmindful of the progress of liberty or to withhold a generous tribute from those who, in so dark an hour, are mindful of their duty to humanity.

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