From The Constitution, Wednesday, July 31, 1861 (volume 24, number 1231)
Passed May Session, 1861
An act relating to the Militia
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened :
Sec. 1. Every able bodied white male citizen, resident within this state, of the age of eighteen years and under the age of forty-five years, excepting such persons as are legally exempt by reason of their compliance with the provisions of any laws heretofore existing in this state, persons exempted by the following sections of this Act, idiots, lunatics, common drunkards, vagabonds, paupers, and persons convicted of any infamous crimes, shall be enrolled in the militia ; persons so convicted after enrollment shall be disenrolled ; and in all cases of doubt respecting the age of a person enrolled, the burden of proof shall be on him. …
The signal defeat of our troops at Bull’s Run will not be without its good results. It will learn the people of the North to estimate more correctly the power and resources of the enemy. The impression has prevailed that it would be easy to crush them by an overpowering force, that all that was necessary was to march to Richmond and drive them like a flock of sheep before our army. In the city of New York there have been two or three journals of large circulation, which were once supposed to be supporters of the Administration, but which for the last few weeks have been continually finding fault with the Government for being slow in its movements, and urging it to make an immediate advance against the enemy. While Gen. Scott, with his more perfect knowledge of the position and strength of the enemy, was concentrating a force before Washington which would have been sufficient for this emergency, these New York editors were blaming him for his slowness, and drawing an unfavorable contrast between his movements and those of McClellan and Lyon.
It is understood that the movement of Gen. McDowell on Manassas was against the better judgment of Gen. Scott ; and that he yielded rather to the pressure of public opinion in so soon ordering an advance. The result has fully confirmed the better judgment of the Commander-in-Chief, and has shown how little the public journalists and the people of the North generally know of the strength of Beauregard and [illegible]. It was supposed that fifty thousand of our northern soldiers could overcome anything in their path, and a march to Manassas and to Richmond would be but a triumphal procession. The mistake has now been discovered. This war has been found to be too mighty an undertaking for the military capacities of a few New York editors. The power of the South has been underrated. It has been found out that even fifty thousand well armed men cannot march through Virginia, and that the enemy we have to meet is not to be despised. We propose that henceforth Gen. Scott be allowed to take his own time in making his arrangements. He is proverbially slow in completing his plans. He was slow in Mexico ; and people thought he never would get ready to make an assault on Vera Cruz. But he took his own time, and when he begun offensive operations he went straight forward till he reached the city of Mexico. Let the New York editors for once lay aside their presumption, and permit the General to manage matters in his own way. He no doubt understands what he is about. He has a more perfect knowledge of the strength of the enemy than even the oracle of the Tribune can have. He knows where and when to strike his blow, and if he is left alone we have no doubt that the campaign in Virginia will be a brilliant one for the armies of the Union.
Gen. McClellan was in the saddle ten hours Sunday, inspecting the lines, and infusing his spirit into all the troops.
The attention of the war department has been called to a report that traitors in Washington have been attempting to spike the cannon defending the capitol.
It is rumored that four colonels are to be court-martialed—two for seeking shelter from the enemy’s fire behind obstructions, and the other two for fleeing from the battle-field on the same horse, while their regiments were fighting.
Foreign men of war multiply in New York harbor. Her Britannic Majesty’s steamship Gladiator came into port to-day, from a cruise all along the Southern Coast,–doubtless to see if the blockade is enforced. France is represented as well as England, in the gun boat Jerome Napoleon, arrived on Saturday—to be joined by another man of war, hourly expected.
The intelligence from Havana (via Boston) is very gratifying—that the Captain-General has ordered the release of all the vessels captured and taken into Cienfuegos by the privateer “Sumter.”
Passed the House of Representatives almost unanimously last week. This declares substantially it is no purpose of the present war to subjugate the southern states, and that the object of the war will be fully accomplished when the authority of the United States shall be established in every part of the Union. We hope we shall hear nothing more from those who have asserted that this war was a crusade against slavery. Here is an authoritative declaration from the House of Representatives that the establishment of the authority of the Government is the single object of the contest.
The Herald gives the names of those killed and missing at Bull’s Run. The sum total foots up 1486, of which 280 were killed, 729 wounded and 477 missing. The list is still incomplete.
The following extract is from a private letter written in Washington by a member of the New York Fire Zouaves, printed in the Express, dated 23d inst. Read it :
I am alive and well in Washington, at the 12th regiment barracks. We had a hard fight. The bullets flew like hailstones around me, and I had to dodge cannon balls. We were led in between two masked batteries. The enemy killed all our wounded. Our Captain was first wounded, and they afterwards killed him. All our company are gone, but twenty-five or thirty. Mr. Goodwin, of 15 truck, is wounded in the foot. When we were drawn up in line of battle for the first charge, we were surrounded by the Black Horse Cavalry troop. We right about faced, charged on them, and killed all but seven. So we “cooked their goose” for them. I am tired out. We went twenty miles, double quick step, and double quick time. We ran steady for four miles, and it almost killed us.
N. B. I shot a secessionist with the pistol you gave me.
John Howard Walker
A Washington correspondent of the N. Y. Commercial says :
“The scenes of yesterday will long be remembered here. Amid a drenching rain our troops came into the city, some shoeless, hatless, coatless, and apparently in the most wretched condition. They all had wonderful stories to relate, some of the men modestly claiming to have shot at least seven confederate troops. Most of those who arrived in the city in the early part of yesterday, excepting the wounded, were, according to their own story, the last to leave the field of battle ; but by some process known only to themselves they were the first to arrive in this city.”
The Connecticut Regiments
Later and more reliable intelligence concerning the great battle at Bull’s Run reveals the fact that the Connecticut regiments behaved nobly throughout, and at no time were under the influence of a panic. They were in the advance in the attack, their colors were the last to leave the field, and though seven or eight miles behind even the reserves, they defended the rear in perfectly good order. Col. Terry, of the 2d Regiment, to which is attached the Mansfield Guard, says that his regiment went into action in parade order, remained on the field until fighting had entirely ceased, and only retreated when orders to that effect had been received from the commander of their division. It then moved off in perfect order, and its formation was only broken by a stream of fugitives from other regiments passing through its ranks. This confirms the opinion we have always entertained of our Connecticut volunteers, that no braver or more reliable soldiers are to be found in the army than they. At the battle at Bull’s Run and in the disastrous retreat of Sunday night, they behaved like brave men, and no veteran troops could have surpassed them in coolness and courage. The State of Connecticut has reason to be proud of her soldiers.
Private letters from members of Co. A, 2d Regt. C. V., Mansfield Guard, state that Wm. Rich has been missing since the engagement on Sunday, 21st inst. Richard Taylor, who was wounded, is now doing well. Mr. Rich was a resident of Middlefield Society in this town.
The First Conn. Regiment arrived in New Haven on the steamer Elm City, at 10 o’clock Sabbath morning. They were received on the wharf by a large number of friends and citizens. The men presented a dusty, tired aspect, but were rugged and hearty. Gov. Buckingham welcomed the brave men home, and thanked them in the name of Connecticut for what they had done.
The term of enlistment of the Second Conn. Regiment expires on the 7th of August, and they may be expected in New Haven on or about that time. They will probably, like the First, have a warm reception. At a meeting of the members of the Mansfield Guard of this city, on Monday evening, it was voted that they turn out and receive the members of that company now returning from the war. The meeting adjourned to Wednesday evening of this week, when the ex-members are requested to meet with them.
Would it not be desirable that our citizens embracing all the military and fire companies turn out and give a warm reception to the “return soldiers” from the war.
In the New York Fulton street prayer meeting, on Tuesday, one who had lost a son in the battle said it was a rebuke among other things to commencing the engagement on the Sabbath. It appeared to be a needless sin against God, and he had not overlooked the insult. He was glad that a religious officer, Gen. McClellan, had been designated to take command of that department.
A woman has been detected in drawing pay from the New York volunteer fund for three husbands, another for two, others for men not married, while others have been allowed for five, six and seven children, when they had but one, and in some instances none.
Samuel Adams, of Hartford, committed suicide by cutting his throat, on Thursday, after an ineffectual attempt to take the life of his wife, who had recently obtained a divorce.
A young lady of Danbury, 19 years of age, named Josephine Morton, disappeared on Saturday, the 20th. Her bonnet and shawl was found on the bank of White’s pond, and her dead body in the pond. She had been disappointed in love.
The Spell of Years
How painful to note the change which years have made, whether it be in the outward or the inward man! So intently occupied as we ever are with individual interest, we rarely pause to reflect or note how many changes are in progress around us, until accident awakens us for a moment to consciousness –then the work of time seems like the doings of an enchanter, and we stop and wonder for a moment, until we glance inward, and find that there, alas! thought, feeling and emotions are not as once they were, what life was in the freshness of early years—and the world hath not chilled the first gushes of nature—nor taught us the lessons of experience.