From The Constitution, Wednesday, July 10, 1861 (volume 24, number 1228)
The Latest News
Since last Friday more than thirty rifled cannon have been sent into Virginia besides other important munitions of war. The intrenchments [sic] across the Potomac are nearly completed, and the batteries of flying artillery are taking their places preparatory to a general advance. Appearances indicate that there will be exciting news from our troops across the Potomac in the course of the week.
In Western Virginia an important skirmish took place. Gov. Wise with a body guard of fifty men was fired upon by a company of native Union men near Sissionville, and it is reported that several of the guard were killed and Wise himself was mortally wounded. The report with regard to Wise being wounded needs confirmation. The advance guard of Gen. McClellan’s forces were on Sunday within a mile of the enemy, and a battle soon seemed certain.
An account from Fortress Monroe states there was an affair between thirty men under Capt. Hammell and a considerable force of the rebels, in which three of the latter were killed.
The President’s Message which we this week present to our readers, is probably the most important document which was ever laid before an American Congress. In it the President takes bold and decided ground. There is no hesitation, no shrinking, no disposition to compromise. He intends to maintain the Government and the Constitution at all hazards. The reasoning of the message is clear and decisive. The call for 400,000 men and $400,000,000 will be promptly met by Congress and the people, and will assure the country that it is the intention of the Government to prosecute the war vigorously, and soon bring it to a close.
The message was evidently not from the pen of Senator Seward or any other member of the Cabinet. It has no rhetorical graces about it, but is written in a clear and vigorous manner, and throughout shows the hand of honest Abe Lincoln.
The Grand Advance to be Made To-night
By the following extract from a letter just received from Capt. J. H. Chapman, commander of company B, of the First Conn. Regt., who hold the post of honor of the grand Advance Guard, it will be perceived that the advance of our troops is to be made to-night. Capt. C. is a Middletown boy. He enlisted in Hartford. The letter is addressed to his brother in this city :
Headquarters, Camp McDowell,
July 6, 1861
Dear Brother—Yours is received. *** I hasten to write a line ** The long expected advance of our line is near at hand. The whole of Gen. McDowell’s column, which consists of 15,000 men, and to which we belong, makes a charge for Fairfax next Tuesday night. The First Regt. hold the point of honor, which is on the right of the line. Five companies from our regt., go in advance as skirmishers, and I expect my company to be one of them. A hard battle is expected as the rebels have Fairfax well fortified with their infernal masked batteries. Many of our brave soldiers will not live to get home, I may be one of them. ** If so I shall fall in defense of our glorious country. We are all in the hands of God and it is with him to choose which of us shall fall. The men are anxious to be the first to meet the enemy. They will, I know, be a credit to old Connecticut. ****
Affectionately your brother, J. H. C.
The Union State Government of Virginia–$27,000 to Start Upon
Both houses of the Virginia legislature organized at Wheeling on Tuesday. Lieut. Gov. Paulsley took the chair in the Senate, and Daniel Frost of Jackson county, was elected speaker of the House. Gov. Pierpont’s message was sent to both bodies Tuesday night, together with a document from Washington, officially recognizing the new government. The message is a very able document, and gives unusual satisfaction. It is a succinct review of secession in Virginia, and of the causes leading to the formation of the loyal government, and recommends an energetic co-operation with the federal government.
The sum of $27,000 in specie, belonging to the state, was seized and brought to Wheeling, Tuesday night, by order of the governor, from the Exchange Bank of Weston. It is supposed that Ex-Gov. Wise was heading for Weston to get this money.
For more than a week a large comet has been blazing in the northern sky. Its head appears to be near the Pointers, and its train stretches beyond the zenith. It has not yet been determined whether it is a stranger in these parts or not. Some suppose it to be the Charles the Vth comet, which appeared in 1556, and was expected to appear again two or three years ago.
The Fourth in Middletown
The day was passed on the whole very quietly in this city. The boys appeared to be as much interested as anybody. Fire crackers and small guns were let off in abundance to the delight of young America and the great disgust of nervous people. A prominent feature of the day was the parade of the Home Guard under the command of Gen. Starr. This company is composed of some of our best citizens, many of whom never dreamed a few months ago that they should ever again shoulder arms.—They have been organized and under drill but a short time and this was their first public appearance. They looked exceedingly well and went through their evolutions with great precision. They numbered about 40 men.—Griffin’s band furnished the music.
The children of the High School had a pic-nic in Baldwin’s grove.
Celebration in Middle Haddam.—The 4th was celebrated in Middle Haddam in a pleasant and patriotic way. A handsome flag staff nearly eighty feet high had been raised in the north part of the village, [Cobalt,] near Mr. Robert Young’s grove, and on Thursday preparations for a celebration were made. In the afternoon, two or three of the ladies raised the national banner on the flag staff, when a salute was fired. Rev. Messrs. Taylor and Woodruff of this city were present and made speeches. There was a good band of music in attendance from East Hampton. Handsomely decorated tables were spread under the trees, on which the ladies had placed ample refreshments to which those present did full justice. It was an exceedingly pleasant occasion, as every one who was there is ready to testify.
In East Hampton the day was celebrated by a pic nic got up by the people connected with the South Congregational Society.
On Haddam Neck there was a pic nic with speeches and they had a good time generally.
In Portland, in the eastern part of the town, the people went pic-nic-ing. The military were also out.
In Cromwell, a fine liberty pole about 140 feet high, nearly as high as the one in Main street in this city, was raised.
Meriden celebrated the day in Hemlock Grove. 5000 people were present.
Chester.—The people assembled near the Town Hall, where a long table was set under the maples. The Declaration was read, there was singing, declamation, and finally a clearing of the table.
Durham.—The people went pic nic-ing and in the evening there were fireworks at Mr. Wadsworth’s in the Centre.
On the night before the Fourth, the boys got up some fire-works of their own. Among the rest, they set on fire a barn standing on the street near the brick building formerly occupied as the poor house. It was burned down. We have not learned that there was anything of value inside. It belonged to Elisha S. Hubbard.
Yesterday the thermometer indicated 95 degrees in the shade. There is one consolation, and that is it can’t very well be any warmer. To-day, Tuesday, is just about as hot as yesterday.
Prof. Lowe, as we learn from Washington, goes up every day in his balloon to make reports of the situation of the Confederates, for the information of Gen. Scott. And it seems that the Confederates, profiting by the example, have employed another professor to go up daily in another balloon for the information of Gen. Beauregard. We shall probably hear next that the rival balloons have been mounted with guns and had an engagement in mid-air. A ball passing through one of them would probably let out as much gas as if it went through the head of Gov. Wise.—[Prentice.